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Is the Atheist+ label really confusing?

Would people object to an atheist group showing up at Pride with a banner “Atheist for LGBSDC14859T rights”? Would this confuse onlookers and make them assume that all atheists are for LGBT rights? I was at the 2012 World Pride in London and right behind my group, Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora, was another group with the banner “Lawyers for Equal Marriage”. I am a lawyer and I also happen to know many lawyers who are against equality rights for same-sex couples. Should the anti-LGBT equality lawyers protest the use of the name ‘Lawyers’ in such context?  Well, that would be silly!

 Just like Lawyers, Socialists and Humanists, I can also use my Atheist self-identity to complement other causes I identify with. No other atheists get to tell me, “Hey do not add ‘plus’ to Atheism, you are redefining it”. I am not redefining it; I am only using what I already am to promote other causes I believe in.

NO, I do not have to do it under humanism or secular humanism label, as often suggested by sometimes well meaning opponents of Atheismplus. Not that I owe anyone any explanation why I choose to promote my social justice causes under a label I actively wear, but the thing is, I actively identify more as an atheist than I do as a humanist, and the fact that you would feel comfortable advocating for social justice under secular humanism does not mean I have to feel the same.  I won’t give you any headache if you chose to actively promote pro-choice, lgbt rights or socialism under the secular humanism label. So please do not assume you have the right to tell me or any other persons not to use the atheism tag we actively wear, as a meeting point to promote social justice causes we mutually care about.  I use what i am to promote other things I hold dear.  If you don’t like it, sue me for copyright infringement, if you can’t, just learn to live with it!

And no, I do not have to be content with joining social justice groups to promote causes I care about. What is wrong with having a one stop shop for my atheism plus social justice causes? I am a member of many social justice groups that start and end their meetings with prayer to a skydaddy.  Sometimes in order to be “all inclusive”, they start with a Christian prayer and end with a Muslim prayer. The many times I have tried to point out that they are not being considerate of other members who are adherents of native religions and those who do not share their God belief, often earn me a SDC14990stern look that might spoil the mood of the meeting and negatively affect the agenda of the meeting. I have been told i ostracize myself from fellow comrades because of my atheism. Never mind that they are the ones who want to keep their distance from me because they are scared associating with an “infidel” like me could incur the wrath of their skydaddy.  So, while I am happy to network with other persons and  social justice groups that do not share my non belief, I am more than glad to have a group where I do not have to spoil their mood with my non belief in God.

This also applies to many atheist groups. I might enjoy stopping by to make a contribution or two on atheists groups, but when group members do not check their privilege, are happy to use slur words, encourage racism or homophobia, under the disguise that they are just a group of people who do not belief in God, whenever I have a chance to make my position clear, I call them out on their ‘assholiness’, and if they don’t make changes, i leave the group. The catch is, because our only bond is simply our non belief in God, they really don’t have a duty to be a decent person just by virtue of their non belief in theism, therefore  I cannot demand or force them to be educated on race , feminism and sexuality. I can only point them to the implications of their words. However, when I join a group of other atheists who states categorically that they are a group of atheists who want to network in a safe environment free from racism, homophobia and anti feminist slurs, I immediately feel at home.

 I see no reason why the atheists who do not care about these social justice issues, or who care but simply do not want to be overly active about those causes, or who want to be active but chose not to do so under their atheist tags umbrella, should throw tantrums just because some other atheists are happy to come together under the atheist label to promote mutual social justice causes. 

The good thing is that while I do not have the right to demand that a member of an atheist group who558635_452575621435167_122256581133741_1696293_265476766_n uses slur words be kicked out of the atheist group especially if the aim did not specify their stance on use of slur words, I absolutely have the right to demand that an atheist who voluntarily joined an atheist plus group be banned from the group for the use of slur words, because it violates the policy of the group.

Why join a group if you aren’t happy with its aims, objectives and policy? I have had experiences with atheists who join atheists plus groups and constantly violate its stated policy. How is that different from religious believers who join atheist pages just to tell them how they are going to burn in hell?

I recently had an experience with a generally well meaning white, male atheist who is a group member of the African Atheist+ facebook group. I noticed that while he was generally happy to make atheist posts bashing religion, he gets all uncomfortable when members make posts about racism. He leaves such comments like shouldn’t we just be colour blind?under any post that speaks on racism. When a black female member shared her blog discussing the non inclusiveness of persons of colour in the atheist community, without even reading the post or giving any indication that he had bothered to read the post,  this white guy made his usual comment , shouldn’t we just stop seeing ourselves as unique  and be colour blind?

 Now, every attempt to explain to him what was wrong with his silencing technique and how inappropriate his comment was under the post thread was eventually met with my being accused of reverse racism.  When asked to state just one racist word I used in my “very lengthy” arguments(as he called it), he could only come up with “Check your white privilege”. I had to give him a lecture on why asking someone to check their privilege, be it colour, gender or sexual orientation privilege, is not racist and definitely not an insult. I skipped the lecture on why reverse racism is not even possible, as i suspect that would have been way over his head.

Now, the point is, the only way I could end that argument peacefully was to refer him to the stated aims, objectives and policy document of the African Atheist plus group. And serve him a warning that next time he attempts to silence a discussion on racism or feminism with his usual “Can’t we all just get along” tactic, he might get an immediate ban. If it was just an atheist group page, I wouldn’t have a stated policy to direct him to, but seeing it is an atheist plus group, the policy made it clear that we are not just here to bash baby Jesus and his followers but to also promote our mutual social justice goals. His case is a good reminder of why I am glad there is Atheism plus.

I do not necessarily discuss socialism in atheists’ forum but if the issue came up, I won’t shy away from engaging in critical debates. Also, I do not jump into atheists’ forum and scream, “Hey everyone, I wanna lecture you about sexism, racism, or homophobia”!

In most instances, the words used by group members trigger the need to engage on ‘rights based’ discussion. You might be perfectly happy to make posts bashing religion but when you use words like “cunts”, “sluts”, and “faggots” in group forums, it becomes incumbent upon me as a group member to bring to your attention the logical implication of your language use. When you further dismiss my concerns as “girls’ talk” or “rants”, then it becomes necessary for me to call you out on your irrational behavior.  When you  come on social network sites to call out religious believers on their lack of thinking capacity in the area of religion; it is only fair that same be applied to you in areas where you have also displayed a lack of critical thinking capacity, no exceptions.

181593_128401653900417_100001917503756_194029_4383389_n

 I appreciate that not all atheists are concerned about social justice issues, and I probably wouldn’t start a social justice debate with a random atheist I met in a bar who just want to have a drink. However atheists who come on social network sites and spend time bashing religions are basically saying, “I do not belief in your religion, your Jesus story is fraught with irrationalities, your God sounds like a bigot”, well you are basically telling the world that you are someone who lacks a belief in a deity because you are a rational thinker, as the slogan says, “I think, therefore I am an Atheist”.

 When you present yourself not just as an atheist but claim your atheism is as a result of rational thinking, don’t be surprised when people engage you in rational debates because they think you are a rational thinker , who by definition, should be open to rational debates and ready to succumb  to superior facts.

 This is the reason I bother to engage in rational discussions with atheists and expect same from them. This is why the way I would engage with a random atheist I met in a private space would be different from the way I engage an atheist I met on an atheist social network group. Therefore when rape jokes, gay or racial slurs are made on an atheists’ forum, it is only logical to engage in rational discussions about the genesis of such slurs that have led to irrational conclusions about a group of peop397963_3119174180996_1313772884_3317714_985286396_nle.  

When some atheists cringe away from such discussions and instead chose to label me or other dissenters as divisive, feminazis or confrontational, well, what they are simply signaling is that they are rational only around the issue of religion, they lack the capacity to be rational about other issues that demands rationality or just that they do not wish or have chosen not to engage in rational discussion or reach a rational conclusion about certain issues. In most cases, these certain issues just happened to be issues feminists, lgbts advocate and human rights activists are concerned about.

 I do understand that it could be difficult for someone with power or privilege to relinquish or even admit that they have power and privilege. Engaging in Rights discussion with some atheists is basically like trying to take away their prized toys, it is not easy to pry away old toys from some adults, it is not easy breezy to let go of privileges, but you can’t eat your cake and have it.

 If you want to come online and laugh at religious believers for their irrational belief in a God, well everyone has also got the right to laugh at  your irrational belief or in most cases attitudes that reinforce the irrational beliefs that women are inferior and can be called sluts, that gays, lesbians, bisexuals, trans are somehow fit only to be called faggots, that blacks are subhuman and therefore should be tactically silenced in a group, that persons with physical disability or mental health issues can be ignored in a forum.When you use words and act in ways that support these irrational beliefs,  you are not any better than the irrational religious believers you are so eager to laugh at! 

 If you do not want people to laugh at your funny beliefs, do not hold funny beliefs, if you do not want to be called out on your bigotry, do not display bigotry, if you do not want me to get angry at your irrational thoughts, do not express such thoughts towards me. Being an atheist does not give you a free pass from scrutiny, being a member of an atheist group does not give you a license to be an asshole. It really is that simple.

 425432_265441616863221_126894987384552_609382_453469780_nBTW, you still have a right not to identify with Atheism+, it does not automatically make you an asshole, just same way identifying as an atheist does not automatically make you a decent person.  We can still hang out on atheist forums but I’ll surely be an irritating fly buzzing around parochial atheists who use atheists’ forums to perpetrate misogyny, homophobia and racism. Atheists who aren’t assholes need not find me irritating for standing up for equal rights for all, anywhere and everywhere I can. So I guess we should get along very well on Atheist minus the Plus forum. However, it is great to know that when I need a break from all the misogynist fights and ism schisms bullshits, I have an Atheists+ forum to retreat to. A safe place is always welcome, even the toughest of activists needs a sanctuary.    

Related post- What are Anti-Atheists+ afraid of?

Comments

  1. Chris Romano says

    I’m new to your blog, but what an incredibly insightful (and equally perturbing) post! As someone who is an atheist and relatively active within the atheist “community” I can honestly say I’ve never heard of this sort of irrational and illogical rhetoric towards the Atheism+ label before, but clearly it does exist. Though biased, I’m optimistic most Atheists are far more aware of the cultural/societal injustices that face the groups propagating the ‘+’ label. Significantly more so than religious groups I’d guess. As you alluded to in your post, the backbone of atheism (and what makes it unique) is rational and logical thought while not harboring tension towards others with different viewpoints. Perhaps these facts can be used as a stepping stone in uniting people, rather than causing additional fracture… there’s plenty of battles to be fought, but this is one I hope doesn’t need to be. Keep up the nice work.

  2. says

    Just adding my voice in support of your post. I kind of got lost in the weeds of the A+ forums but I’m glad it’s there to enhance communication and provide a community.

  3. says

    I don’t think it’s that confusing. I think people who claim so are being disingenuous because they feel uncomfortable stating bald opposition to the values espoused by Atheism+. But that’s just me.

  4. Mariah says

    I’m glad you’re here. You’ve articulated so many things in this post that I’ve often thought, but haven’t been able to put into words. I hope someday everyone will come to see the sense of these rational beliefs, which honor equality on all these levels.

    I feel very sad every day when I see people I otherwise might have thought of as an ally in atheism attacking people for not supporting them in their tangential bigotries. Thank you so much for helping shed light on this.

  5. says

    I have difficulty understanding the opposition to the label too. As far as confusing labels go, quite a few others are as well. I think you have a better argument that ‘feminism’ being about equal rights is confusing. There’s plenty of room for confusion over ‘secular humanism’ also, since people do argue over how anti-religious that is.

    From my experience the people complaining about the A+ label with so much vitriol are mostly actually upset over other implications. They’re actually against the inclusion of social justice stuff under the atheism banner, but don’t want the implications that they’re bad people because of it.

    I think that normally people are perfectly capable of understanding that something like ‘Bakers for Equality’ doesn’t imply all bakers are in favor of equality, just the bakers in that group and that other bakers may or may not be in favor to some degree or other.
    I suppose we could try, instead of Atheism Plus we could try Atheists for Equality. Somehow I doubt that would fare better, though.

  6. Phil Giordana says

    Hello Yemisi! Slymepitter and first time commenter here, I’m looking forward to your contributions.

    To me, the problem of A+ is the appropriation of “atheism”, with the terrible caveat that those not embracing the label are somehow bad persons (racists, misogynists, rape appologists…etc). Richard Carrier has made this very clear (even though he’s been refuted by A+ itself, or at least Jen, the institutor of this “movement”).

    I am an atheist. I don’t believe in any god, or dogmatic religious…well, dogma. I am also a humanist, feminist, and supporter of LGBTQ rights. These later activities, however, do no define my being an atheist. A+ is actively trying to redefine what atheism means, a problem that I witnessed before WRT your co-blogger PZ Myers. You know, the “dictionary atheist” problem. In my neck of the wood, such notions don’t exist. There is no stigma attached to being an atheist, at all. Which is why I got such passion when it comes to atheist and religious issues in the USA. US atheists seem to need all the support they can get, and they have mine, even the most assholish ones.

    There is well enough bullshit to fight out there (school boards pushing creationist ideas in science classrooms, for exemple. And no, it’s not a “dear Muslima”).

    Atheism+ is a distraction, and doesn’t paint the atheist community in a bright light to onlookers/lurkers. Ceepolk and Setar are shinning exemples of what not to do (it’s not a personal attack. I don’t know these people in real life, and have never interracted with them online. But their very prominent posts are just shameful, if not fully ridiculous). This is a POV from an “outsider” atheist, one who doesn’t have to live with the stigma American atheists have to deal with. But one who sympathises.

    So, with all that said, many good things to you on your FTB endeavour, and all the best!

  7. dgrasett says

    I hope you find this the compliment it is intended to be.
    You made me think.
    Please write lots and lots.

  8. rowanvt says

    I was raised ‘colorblind’ by my parents. And I really wish, as an adult, that I hadn’t been. While I don’t *actively* and *consciously* exhibit racism, I’m quite certain I’ve had plenty of moments where I was being a bit racist and had absolutely no clue it could come off that way, simply thanks to the society I live in. And the thought of that horrifies me and makes me uncomfortable because I don’t like making other people uncomfortable. And while no one likes to feel uncomfortable, I think that feeling is important for me to have since I am white. I’m always going to slip up, but maybe my slip-ups will be smaller, or less frequent.

    To Phil:

    How exactly is it a distraction? And why should I be ‘supportive’ of another atheist here in america if they think that I am less simply because I’m a woman?

  9. Pen says

    Hi Yemisi, this is a belated welcome to FtB. I’m very happy to see a Nigerian Brit here. I agree wholeheartedly with your post so what can I say except it’s always fun to read stuff you agree with. I do have a boring administrative quibble though. I can’t see your blog appearing on the FtB main page. Am I really the only one? What’s wrong with my browser? For now, I’m just going to keep your blog open in my browser until it crashes so I can catch up.

  10. says

    Was going to write a long comment to Phil about how daft I think his comment is… Instead I’ll reduce to a question.

    What is worse the A+ forum where a few threads are lied about and distorted by haters or maybe even a few silly things are expressed (I’ve not seen one instance stand up yet) or this -->
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/almostdiamonds/2013/02/02/what-is-more-important-than-peace-nsfw/
    ^^^ NOTE the Not Safe For Work…. NSFW

    Put on your PR hat and think about which is bringing the “movement” into disrepute… Pretty easy question unless you are a Slymepitter.

  11. says

    Nigerian LGBTIs in diaspora, was another group with the banner “Lawyers for Equal Marriage”. I am a lawyer and I also happen to know many lawyers who are against equality rights for same-sex couples. Should the anti-LGBT equality lawyers protest the use of the name ‘Lawyers’ in such context? Well, that would be silly!

    That is the distinction. “Lawyers for…” is not the same as “Lawyers Plus.” In fact, all manner of people have argued that “Atheists for…” is just fine and what’s the big deal with calling yourselves ‘Atheists For’ instead of Plus.
    Your analogy is wrong. ‘For’ denotes a subset, ‘Plus’ denotes an addition. They mean different things, period.

    I won’t give you any headache if you chose to actively promote pro-choice, lgbt rights or socialism under the secular humanism label. So please do not assume you have the right to tell me or any other persons not to use the atheism tag we actively wear, as a meeting point to promote social justice causes we mutually care about. I use what i am to promote other things I hold dear. If you don’t like it, sue me for copyright infringement, if you can’t, just learn to live with it!

    Another incorrect analogy. Secular Humanism IS pro human rights, so why would you complain about using that label? There is no conflict there.
    Atheism means atheism, Atheism+ means something different. That is why there is a controversy. S.H. is doing human rights, A is about doing atheism, and A+ is about doing human rights *AND atheism. The plus changes the meaning! Not changing the meaning -- S.H. -- is not the same as changing the meaning -- A+.
    Personally,I have no problem with the label Atheism Plus. I have a problem with usage of confusing and improper analogies and meanings of words to defend it. I have a big problem with creating friction and drawing battle lines by using rationalizations instead of credibility. Pretending it is not a big deal to use Atheism Plus as a label is the wrong way to go. It is belittling and discounting of others opinions, and that is insulting and divisive.
    But go ahead and use A+! Like you say, it is perfectly within your rights. I denotes a group of atheists that have taken upon themselves to fight for equality, sure, but don’t say it means the same ‘Atheists For Human Rights’ as if you just flipped a coin and decided to go with Plus.

    When some atheists cringe away from such discussions and instead chose to label me or other dissenters as divisive, feminazis or confrontational, well, what they are simply signaling is that they are rational only around the issue of religion, they lack the capacity to be rational about other issues that demands rationality

    See, what you are doing is being irrational, divisive, etc. Anyone is entitled to their opinion, and you can say that others are irrational all you want, and you can dismiss others by pretending there are ulterior motives at work all you want, but this started because of using improper reasoning and making character assumptions. Having a judgmental attitude, and using fishy logic is indicative of ulterior motives, and this approach by some A+ers from the start, and your arguments here, indicate that you are not pristine in your intentions, either.
     
    Call me an atheist for A+, for I support the intentions, and even the name. It is fine with me to call your group A+, but at least acknowledge that some objectors have a valid point -- and then work towards resolving that difference. I get pissed off with both sides trying to tell each other what to think and do.

    *Feminism appears to be the primary focus of A+, rightly or wrongly.

  12. Phil Giordana says

    Rowanvt:

    How exactly is it a distraction? And why should I be ‘supportive’ of another atheist here in america if they think that I am less simply because I’m a woman?

    Err, what? Who ever said you were less (less what?) simply because you are a woman? Not me, fo one. Can we drop the strawmen (strawpersons?) for a while? I think you won’t find a single poster at the Slymepit who thinks less of a poster because they’re a woman. We even have women there (urinating dog, urinating dog, urinating dog. Please understand the Pratchett reference)!

    I’ve decided to post here because Yemisi is quite new to FTB, and she seems to be very enthusiastic, and I love enthusiasm. I was pondering about posting at Ally Fogg’s blog as well, but there has been some type of Slymepit pile-up over there (read: finaly, a blog on FTB where we are not silenced/censored). I will, of course, ignore oolon and his attempts at trolling, but will be very happy to discuss with everyone else.

  13. Vall says

    @6 Phil

    Distracted from what? Antagonizing bloggers with a different point of view? It seems from my pov that you either didn’t read the piece you are commenting on or didn’t understand something. You must have been distracted, I guess.

    You said: “You know, the “dictionary atheist” problem. In my neck of the wood, such notions don’t exist. There is no stigma attached to being an atheist, at all.”
    -- Try expanding your focus a little bit and you may find that isn’t true everywhere for everyone. You really didn’t read this article did you? If it isn’t a problem in your woods, great! Keep up the good work, but I don’t think showing support for others is a nefarious plot to distract you from non-belief. (What it really is, is a nefarious plot to distract you from being an asshole)

    Both of the new bloggers here have very good posts, if you read them. Hell, ALL the bloggers here have great posts. Others around here have talked about empathy. I think that is at the heart of the problem, not distraction. If you don’t see the need for A+, fine, but to actively be against it gives the appearance of simple bigotry and hate. The only distracting thing about it are those like you who lack empathy, and stir up shit for our new host here, or the horrible treatment of Ophelia Benson and all the rest. To claim “distraction” after what your crowd has been pulling would be laughable if it weren’t so cruel.

    I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that you have a hard time “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.” I’ve done it since I was little, so it’s almost second nature to me. But to others it may take Spongebob Squarepants levels of “Imagination!” Your lack of empathy hurts others and the only thing I see A+ doing is to say “that’s not O.K.”

  14. Vall says

    Also to post @12

    I don’t think Ally will be the ally you think. He may not ban you guys, but if you read all the words UNDER the post titles, there is actual substance that seems to be at odds against “pit” mentality.

  15. Phil Giordana says

    Vall @13:

    Have you ever actually read the A+ forum? The constant victimization and requests for “trigger warning”? I can really understand the need for a special safe place for some people, and I see no problems with it. As long as they don’t pretend it is what atheism should be about and don’t shurn those who don’t toe their party line.

    A far as empathy goes, I don’t think we’ve ever met, and therefore would appreciate you not passing judgment on my character out of some internet comments. Well, you have a right to do so and there’s not much I could do about it. I would just like it if you didn’t jump to conclusions without knowing me.

  16. Phil Giordana says

    Vall @14:

    What is the “Pit mentality”? I would be most interested in understanding that POV.

  17. carlie says

    That. Was. Amazing.

    To me, the problem of A+ is the appropriation of “atheism”,

    Did you not read the first entire paragraph of her post?

  18. Phil Giordana says

    Carlie @17:

    Yes, I have, and I don’t agree with it. Can we discuss it?

  19. Vall says

    I may have overstepped on my “pit mentality” because I don’t go there. I apologize. I was basing my judgment on the pit treatment of O.B. and others, documented on Butterflies and Wheels for your convenience. You should be aware that the appearance of hatred and bigotry can be just as damaging as the real thing, to those outside your group.

    It may well be fact that we live in a cold hard world that doesn’t give a damn about anyone, but why do you get so bent out of shape because some people need a place to feel safe? Are you really that mean? I understand your point about victimization but I do not agree with it. I (like you) have no need for the filters and warnings, but I don’t want to tear into those who do because I understand that the cold hard world we live in creates situations where some people that need that place.

    I don’t have money. I can’t change the world. I can however, show a little support for those brave enough to want to change a small part of it.

  20. Phil Giordana says

    Vall @19:

    No worries. But maybe you should take a look at what goes on at the Pit, instead of basing your judgment on a single source. Maybe, just maybe, that source may be biased. I have no beefs with Ophelia whatsoever. I even own a book she co-wrote with Russell Blackford. Some Pitters really don’t like her, but it’s not because she’s a woman, it’s because at times she can write/say pretty idiotic things. Being a woman has nothing to do with some people not liking her.

    The A+ people can do and say whatever they want, no problems. But just take a second and imagine what religionists/creationists/cdesignproponentists will make of it. What do you think their go-to example of atheist dumb-fuckery will be? I just don’t want to have to explain over and over again that I am not in any way related to A+.

    To be clear, I understand and agree with most of A+’s basic statements. I just really don’t like the way they’ve gone about it.

  21. Vall says

    Phil,
    I also apologize for saying you lack empathy. I’ve been on the wrong side of a misunderstanding around these blogs so I get it. I can only go by what you type, and that is why I said it. Ophelia’s blog may only be one source and one side, but the side it exposes unpleasant and hateful. And well documented too, with links for those who demand citations for everything. You need sources? She’s got it covered.

    I usually don’t even comment because most of the regulars have already covered what I would say better than I could. Like the original piece on this post. Yemisi Ilesanmi has writing skills I could only dream of, as do all the bloggers around here. Your post @6 made it seem like you didn’t even read it. That is why I’m pushing back and I suspect the others who responded felt the same.

    One more thing, I don’t care what the religionists/creationists/cdesignproponentists will make of it. They can get all frothy over just about anything, and they usually misunderstand everything on purpose. So having to explain to them you are an atheist but you still don’t agree with uppity women must be a chore. Just going by your words, it seems you think your problem outweighs those who face bigotry and sexism every day.

    My sarcasm is not to inflame you or ad-hom to discredit you, I’m trying to open your eyes. Please read the words this wonderful woman wrote. She does a much better job than me.

  22. Phil Giordana says

    Vall @21:

    “So having to explain to them you are an atheist but you still don’t agree with uppity women must be a chore.”

    I never said anything like that. Where did this “uppity women” came from? Your words, not mine. This might be one of the main problems people have with A+, FTB, Skepchick…

  23. Vall says

    I guess you skimmed over the last part: “My sarcasm is not to inflame you or ad-hom to discredit you, I’m trying to open your eyes. Please read the words this wonderful woman wrote. She does a much better job than me.”

    I got that from : ” I just don’t want to have to explain over and over again that I am not in any way related to A+.”
    when dealing with religious people. To me, at least, the little plus sign simply means I support feminists and other marginalized groups, I would donate to causes if I could, but the least I could do is show support.. So to me, to stress that you don’t ( + ), means you don’t support those ideals. And to take it one more step, you are A-. You said yourself that ” In my neck of the wood” those problems don’t exist. And in the same post you say “US atheists seem to need all the support they can get, and they have mine, even the most assholish ones.”
    So can you see where my confusion lies? I’m NOT trying to burn, or anger you, but I don’t think your thoughts have finished compiling yet. That is where empathy comes in. Your discomfort with trying to explain away A+ to the religious, is less important (to everyone else) than racism or intolerance. To quote myself “it’s a cold hard world.” So in short, don’t like A+? Great. Don’t use the label. The skeptic in me doubts you really have that problem anyway.

  24. Phil Giordana says

    ” So to me, to stress that you don’t ( + ), means you don’t support those ideals. ”

    Yep, that’s where you’re wrong alright.

  25. says

    Interesting that linking to material lifted from the Slymepit is now “trolling” or “biased”

    But maybe you should take a look at what goes on at the Pit, instead of basing your judgment on a single source.

    … Phil obviously doesn’t want to answer the question of which is worse for the reputation of the movement, the A+ forum or the Slymepit. Maybe its because I linked to a FTB source, everyone at the Slymepit refers to this place as FfTBs, thats Free-From-Thought-Blogs, they are very funny fellas. So how about this source -- independently gathered from a non-FTB person. Direct quotes from Phils friends…

    http://www.michaelnugent.com/2013/03/03/examples-of-nasty-pushback-against-some-feminists-on-the-internet/

    So what is damaging the atheist movement again? Phil…?

  26. Vall says

    If you aren’t going to read my replies I see no need to continue. The OP here covers everything better than I could, so I’ll leave it there. I’m still confused by your position, but I’m o.k. with that.

  27. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Chris Romano, Cynickal, dgrasett, SallyStrange, Mariah and John-Henry Beck rowanvt Thanks and keep enjoying my posts, your comments are appreciated.

    Vall @13 Thanks, your response captured it for me too.

    Pen:

    I do have a boring administrative quibble though. I can’t see your blog appearing on the FtB main page. Am I really the only one? What’s wrong with my browser? For now, I’m just going to keep your blog open in my browser until it crashes so I can catch up.

    Thanks and I will ask the admin about the administrative quibble.

  28. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Phil Giordana:

    Atheism+ is a distraction, and doesn’t paint the atheist community in a bright light to onlookers/lurkers

    Atheism+ is a distraction to who?
    Atheism+ is certainly not a distraction to me, maybe it is a distraction to obsessive anti atheist” folks who are obsessed with the name, group and with atheists who use the plus tag. But that is hardly my problem now , is it? They can easily “undistract” themselves from distraction if they so wish.

    And what exactly is atheism”+ supposed to be distracting atheists from, the fact that they don’t believe in theism?

    Also, since I am not an atheist who seeks converts, I do not think I have to paint it in bright light to lure people to ‘convert’ to atheism. Atheism is simply non belief in God and I state it as it is, not go painting it bright or dull.

  29. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Phil Giordana:

    In my neck of the wood, such notions don’t exist. There is no stigma attached to being an atheist, at all. Which is why I got such passion when it comes to atheist and religious issues in the USA. US atheists seem to need all the support they can get, and they have mine, even the most assholish ones.

    Hmm.. good for you. But as you can see from my post (if you tread it), in my neck of the wood, the story is not the same. And even if the story were the same, I still would have “got such passion when it comes to atheist and religious issues” because as a human rights activist, I understand that an injury to one is an injury to all. Even if I was free from stigma as an atheist, I will still take up the issues of those still living under the yoke of stigma and religion oppression. For you it might be enough that your neck of the wood in USA is atheist stigma free, but I am sure for many, that might not be enough.

    Phil Giordana:

    There is well enough bullshit to fight out there (school boards pushing creationist ideas in science classrooms, for exemple. And no, it’s not a “dear Muslima”).

    Of course it is a “Dear Muslima” and you know it. What I can only say it, there are many things to fight, however people are free to choose and prioritize their own battles. I come from a country where in the Northern part, where Sharia law has been adopted; it is legal to stone people to death if they so much as profess there is no God. Of course this is a big priority but then I also think it is a big priority for me that atheists I interact with in groups or personally do not support homophobia, sexism, racism or perpetrate abliesm. So, I make my own call on the battles I fight and I choose my strategy too. You see, we might hardly have cases of atheists being stoned to death in northern Nigeria, but I do have a daily experience of atheists who are homophobic, racist and sexist. So I know what battle to prioritize.

    Phil Giordana:

    So, with all that said, many good things to you on your FTB endeavour, and all the best!

    Thank you.

  30. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    mikmik

    That is the distinction. “Lawyers for…” is not the same as “Lawyers Plus.” In fact, all manner of people have argued that “Atheists for…” is just fine and what’s the big deal with calling yourselves ‘Atheists For’ instead of Plus.
    Your analogy is wrong. ‘For’ denotes a subset, ‘Plus’ denotes an addition. They mean different things, period.

    Actually my Atheism + is an ADDITION , it means IN ADDITION TO being an atheist, I am also an atheist who speaks out on social justice issues , and actively oppose racism, sexism, homophobia etc. Like other tags I wear, I just like putting it out right there.

    mikmik

    Another incorrect analogy. Secular Humanism IS pro human rights, so why would you complain about using that label? There is no conflict there.

    And where did I complain about using that label? As I said even though I owe no one no explanation for what label I choose to use or not use, the secular label is not for me because I identify more as an atheist than I do as a secular humanist. I wear the atheist tag, not the secular humanist tag. It does not mean I don’t like the secular humanist tag, it only means I feel more comfortable and true to myself, identifying as an atheist. What’s comfortable for you does not have to be comfortable for me, and the fact that I chose one over the other does not necessarily mean I think something is wrong with it. That really is a simple thing to comprehend.

  31. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    mikmik

    Atheism means atheism, Atheism+ means something different.

    Of course it does mean different things, were you told Atheism and Atheism plus means the same?
    mikmik

    I have no problem with the label Atheism Plus. I have a problem with usage of confusing and improper analogies and meanings of words to defend it. I have a big problem with creating friction and drawing battle lines by using rationalizations instead of credibility. Pretending it is not a big deal to use Atheism Plus as a label is the wrong way to go. It is belittling and discounting of others opinions, and that is insulting and divisive.

    Why are you so bothered about what labels others wear and how they chose to identify? Of course it is a big deal to me to use Atheism plus as a label, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to me to use that label. And the more I meet atheists who are general assholes, the more I am glad that the label exist for me to use.

    mikmik

    But go ahead and use A+! Like you say, it is perfectly within your rights.

    You make it sound as if approval was needed! I wonder f this your endorsement would mean anti atheist + folks would stop attacking A+ labels users.

    mikmik

    I denotes a group of atheists that have taken upon themselves to fight for equality, sure, but don’t say it means the same ‘Atheists For Human Rights’ as if you just flipped a coin and decided to go with Plus.

    Whatever, I am so glad the Plus was chosen, I love it. But of course you don’t have to like it, and the best part is, you are never gonna be forced to wear it.

  32. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    mikmik

    Call me an atheist for A+, for I support the intentions, and even the name. It is fine with me to call your group A+, but at least acknowledge that some objectors have a valid point — and then work towards resolving that difference.

    Writing this post and making videos on the issue is my way of acknowledging and addressing the expressed concerns raised by others as well as wondering why the hate too. And also to remind us all that we all have a right to self identify with whatever group or label we choose.
    mikmik

    *Feminism appears to be the primary focus of A+, rightly or wrongly.

    As someone who uses the atheist plus label, I’d say that is very wrong. Homophobia amongst atheists community especially most African atheists groups, is one reason I was overjoyed when the idea of Atheist+ was launched. Of course sexism, racism and abliesm amongst atheists are also reasons I embrace the atheist+ tag. So I guess it depends on what the atheists you interact with in your community throw at you. If it is misogyny, I guess feminism would be high on your reason for embracing atheismplus label. For me it is a case of escalating homophobia and sexism from atheists groups in my community and the wider society too.

    But having said that, why should you be bothered about what groups you do not identify with choose as their primary focus? It isn’t your business or burden to bear.

  33. maudell says

    Your writing is enlightening, Yemisi, I am looking forward to reading more.

    That is all. :-)

  34. says

    As someone who uses the atheist plus label, I’d say that is very wrong. Homophobia amongst atheists community especially most African atheists groups, is one reason I was overjoyed when the idea of Atheist+ was launched. Of course sexism, racism and abliesm amongst atheists are also reasons I embrace the atheist+ tag. So I guess it depends on what the atheists you interact with in your community throw at you. If it is misogyny, I guess feminism would be high on your reason for embracing atheismplus label. For me it is a case of escalating homophobia and sexism from atheists groups in my community and the wider society too.

    Okay, that makes sense. I’m guilty of lazy thinking and stereotyping A+. You’re right, I am mostly exposed to the fight against misogyny, but that doesn’t mean I see the whole picture. Thanks for taking the time to explain this to me.

    Writing this post and making videos on the issue is my way of acknowledging and addressing the expressed concerns raised by others as well as wondering why the hate too. And also to remind us all that we all have a right to self identify with whatever group or label we choose.

    I understand. I have been vocal about disagreements and all the things that I see going wrong in communication between A+ and other groups and individuals. I have the opinion that much of it is caused by the more extreme members of each group, and that they are not the majority.
    There does seem to be a great deal of suspicion whenever there is opposing viewpoints, and I am sensitive to all kinds of character assaults and telling others what they are really doing and thinking -- in other words, not just ignoring their thoughts, but belittling them. I was really nit-picking about the analogy between lawyers groups and A+, but that has been a major point of contention with other atheists, so that is why I pointed it out. It is a minor thing, and I think it is time that everyone just got used to the A+ group calling yourselves that. I am just trying to give some perspective. I apologize for being confrontational.

    You really did write an accessible clear article, IMO, and I learned something important from you, so thank you!

  35. says

    First, I wanted to say that I agree quite a bit with Yemisi about the reasons I like the A+ label, particularly in comment #32. I think Greta Christina and others spelled out some good reasons to use early on also, about why A+ instead of Secular Humanism labels.

    I find the arguments about the A+ label being confusing to be rather shallow. I don’t see it as notably different from ‘atheists for equality’ or some such. I’m not married to the name or anything. But I have a lot less problem with it than, say, the ‘National Atheist Party’ as a name. In any case, it’s one thing to state that one doesn’t like the name and why, and even to not wear the label while still supporting those kinds of ideals (which, really, is probably what I end up doing). But it’s entirely different to endlessly spew vitriol and hatred at the proponents all over the Internet.

    And as far as the difficulties with having to explain to people that you’re not part of the A+ crowd…I have very little sympathy for that also. I find it hard to believe that people could be as upset about having to distance themselves from A+ as I am about having to distance myself from the ‘Pit. Or from things people like Dawknis and Harris say. I think Dawkins has done a lot of great stuff for atheism, but he still really puts his foot in it sometimes like with those ‘Dear Muslima’ and ‘zero bad’ comments. Of course, when it comes to dealing with theists, they’re probably not aware of that stuff anyway…I’m first busy distancing myself from Satan worshippers and god-hating misanthropes and whatever other stereotypes they have. So, in the end, I find that Phil’s concern seems quite silly.

  36. says

    Also, as far as problems with the execution of trying to get the A+ stuff going, I have problems with it also. However I lay the bulk of that blame at the feet of the ‘Pit and the other rabid haters. They’ve been under constant assault from the start.

    So, for an analogy. If I were to go visit a new city I would not enjoy the experience if the population was paranoid, slow to trust and always watching me for missteps that indicate I might be some spy or sabateur. It would be hard to blame them much, though, if they had been under siege for a year with actual spies trying to slip in and cause havoc. They’re paranoid and defensive for a reason, and it’s hard to get much done while under siege like that.

    I think many of the complaints about the A+ forum would fade away if the haters would just stop and go away and do their own thing. But, that’s based on the assumption that those haters aren’t actually against the A+ values and equality for those various marginalized groups…which I’m finding harder and harder to believe as the hate grinds on and on and on and on.

  37. Phil Giordana says

    Please, just keep in mind that the Slymepit is not representative of anyone or anything. There is even at least one theist who posts there. It is not an atheist forum, as far as content is concerned. It is an unmoderated forum where people can let out some steam, laugh at stupid things other people say (including Slymepitters themselves) and just discuss various subjects in general.

    The Pitizens (ahah, I love that term) are not “rabid haters”. We are not driven by hate of any kind. Maybe a couple of posters there are, but they are mostly ignored. It is all just entertainment and fun, really. And no one there speaks for anyone else. No one asks for special treatment because they’re X or Y or Z.

    It’s just people having a nice chat, like in a pub. We DO mock some things that are said by the Aplussers and affiliates, but really, when we do it’s because it’s deserved.

    I would really appreciate people going at the Pit and checking out for themselves. To be honest, I only post and read at the PTOS threads. I’m not sure what goes on in sub-forums, as it’s a format I don’t really like. I think I posted a few times on those subs, but that’s it.

    Yemisi: my neck of the wood is France. :)

  38. says

    It’s just people having a nice chat, like in a pub.

    A pub at a maximum security prison for sociopaths. Come on Giordana, at least stand up for your harasser mates. Don’t belittle them by calling their organised and prolonged smear campaigns “mocking”.

  39. theetar says

    Rorschach, I’m not a member of the pit, but I read it and I have never seen any evidence of “organised ” activities. Can you please elucidate or give any evidence of this?

    A more apt example of organised smearing would be the FTB campaign against Justin Vacula.

  40. carlie says

    Yes, I have, and I don’t agree with it. Can we discuss it?

    Ok. She says that if you see a group called “X for Y”, that generally it is not a given that it means ALL Xs are for Y. You saying you don’t agree with it would then mean that you DO think that it means all Xs are for Y.

    Seriously? I’d be interested in seeing how you could argue that, given how many “X for Y” groups exist, and how clear it is that they don’t mean all Xs.

  41. Phil Giordana says

    Carlie @43:

    It is not “X for Y” in this case. It is “X+”, and whoever disagrees with whatever they are saying at a given time is a bad person. Think of a group that would call themselves “Lawyers+” and claim the high ground, accusing non-joining lawyers of being of lesser morality.

    If it was called “atheists for feminism”, for exemple, I would have absolutely zero problems with it. I might even have joined, if I had the opportunity to not encounter the likes of Setar and Ceepolk.

    Really, have you ever read the shit they spew?

  42. kellyw. says

    “The Pitizens (ahah, I love that term) are not “rabid haters”. We are not driven by hate of any kind. Maybe a couple of posters there are, but they are mostly ignored. It is all just entertainment and fun, really. And no one there speaks for anyone else. No one asks for special treatment because they’re X or Y or Z.”

    So, making fatphobic and misogynist comments is all just for funsies. And you can’t see why people get upset about this. I’m a fat gay woman. I don’t think fatphobia, misogyny or homophobia is fun or entertaining. I get crap from general society every day for being a fat gay woman--I see no reason to subject myself to that at the Pithole. The examples found within the links posted in the commentary here are hateful. I fail to see exactly how two fat people having sex is funny. I fail to see the humor in photoshoping fat people with imagery to emphasise a body type and adding hurtful, bigoted commentary. I fail to see how comparing a woman to a farm animal is funny. I fail to laugh at phrases such as “fat lezzers belly-smashing foreplay” and “Rebeccunt Twatson” and “Cobweb Cunt”. I fail to see how maliciously targeting women atheist bloggers with an unending stream of hatred is being a legitimate means of voicing disagreement.

    The Pithole has nothing of value to offer.

    Yemisi, thank you for speaking about A+. I don’t care if people add the +, but those who don’t better stay out of my way. It’s ridiculous how much pushback the larger atheist community is giving—those who don’t like it have a personal problem. How many times does it have to be said that the + doesn’t imply anything negative to those who don’t use it?

  43. Phil Giordana says

    “Yemisi, thank you for speaking about A+. I don’t care if people add the +, but those who don’t better stay out of my way.”

    Thanks for proving my point.

  44. kellyw. says

    Exactly what are you trying to prove? How exactly is my identifying as A+ harming you? I don’t care how other atheists identify. Did you deliberately miss that part? There are atheists who don’t adopt the + AND they care about social justice. And guess what? They aren’t the ones getting mad at those of us who use the plus.

    What I do care about is how ALL atheists treat marginalized people. The Pithole (filled with atheists) is a dumping ground for bigotry. No thanks.

  45. Phil Giordana says

    “What I do care about is how ALL atheists treat marginalized people. The Pithole (filled with atheists) is a dumping ground for bigotry. No thanks.”

    You will really have to provide evidence for those claims. Anything for how “ALL atheists treat marginalized people”? Or “The Pithole is a dumping ground for bigotry”? Weirdly enough, I don’t think you’ll be able to sustain those claims.

    We have all kinds of people posting there, blacks, whites, asians, latinos, male, female, gender-fluid, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, French (gasp!). You name it.

    What we don’t have, however, are special snowflakes who think they are the center of the universe and everyone on the internet should catter to their emotional needs.

    Of note, we also have quite a few ex-A+ people who have been utterly disgusted with what’s going on at A+, have joined the Pit out of curiosity, and are now a big part of the forum. They are even allowed to swear!

    You are a fat lesbian by your own admission. So what? It doesn’t bother me at all, nor does it the majority of the Pitters. It doesn’t impact one iota on what you have to say. Maybe it will if what you have to say is in direct relation to being overweight or a lesbian, or both. It informs the discussion, but it is not the heart of it.

  46. carlie says

    And guess what? They aren’t the ones getting mad at those of us who use the plus.

    Exactly. The people I see getting the most upset about A+ are the ones who actively do NOT want to have to think about the way their actions affect other people, and who do not want anyone to suggest even the hint of an idea that perhaps they should voluntarily adhere to some basic standards of how to be decent to other humans. I don’t really care if those kinds of people feel shoved out of movement atheism.

  47. kellyw. says

    Hey. I identified as a fat gay woman, not fat lesbian.

    Phil, have you completely ignored the information posted in the links above? Also, YOU said this: “There is even at least one theist who posts there.” You said this in regards to the Pithole. An atheist is a non-theist. Therefore, there are atheists who post there, because the “at least one theist” is not the only one posting there BY FAR.

    You’ve been provided examples in the links above and you’ve completely ignored the evidence. Also, when I say I care about how ALL atheists treat marginalized people, I really mean every atheist on the planet, not just the atheists in the Pithole.

    Hey Phil, why are the “jokes” at the Pithole at the expense of marginalized people? Oh, wait, I know why! Because white, cis, straight men are special snowflakes! Can’t have jokes about them!

  48. Phil Giordana says

    Kellyw @50:

    Sorry about the misnomer. Won’t happen again. But, what is the difference between a gay woman and a lesbian? This is a honest question. English is not my first language, so there might be nuances I don’t know about.

    “You said this in regards to the Pithole. An atheist is a non-theist. Therefore, there are atheists who post there, because the “at least one theist” is not the only one posting there BY FAR”

    No idea what you’re on about. Sure, the majority of Pitters are atheists, but at least we don’t pretend to represent atheism as a whole. Which I couldn’t say of A+, to wit, your comment “I don’t care if people add the +, but those who don’t better stay out of my way.”

    Sorry, but I won’t stay out of your way if you decide to define what atheism is/should be. Lack of belief in a god, that’s what atheism is, means, has meant for years and years. NOT feminism, NOT social justice, NOT furry fandom, NOT Pokemon fandom. Just a lack of belief in a personal god.

    “Hey Phil, why are the “jokes” at the Pithole at the expense of marginalized people? Oh, wait, I know why! Because white, cis, straight men are special snowflakes! Can’t have jokes about them!”

    You will need to provide evidence for that. Also, sorry for being a white, cis, straight man. I was born that way, you know. I never asked for it, but hey, I try to do my best with what evolution gave me.

    Also, what links? Those provided by oolon who all point to FTB? A bit biased, I’d say.

    If you don’t like me not adding a “+” at the end of my atheism, stay out my way! See how this works?

  49. A Hermit says

    I’m always amused to see the same people who will argue `til blue in the face that no one should ever be offended by mere words and write whole treatises in blog comments all over the web defending the Slymepit’s love of insults and slurs get all bent out of shape over a plus sign…

    Do you clowns actually take yourselves seriously? Or is this some sort of performance art thing?

  50. Phil Giordana says

    A Hermit @52:

    Well, Myers just called us “vermins”. Call me a cunt anyday, but try and refrain from calling me a “vermin”. This word has a history manyfolds worse than “cunt”.

    And I don’t argue against the plus sign. I argue against the “atheist” label. No, sorry, I am not that type of atheist.

  51. Phil Giordana says

    Oh, also, as far as I’m concerned, no, I don’t take myself seriously. Perfomance act? Not so much. Just entertainment. I can stop any day. (I said the same about WOW. It’s easy to stop playing it, I did it four times already).

  52. says

    @Vall,

    Oolon, can you figure this out? Am I missing something?

    Sorry Vall missed your comment, Phil is unfortunately stuck on pit autopilot, he spends most of his online life sucking up the Slymepit anti-FTB/A+ memes like a confirmation bias sponge. If you deviate from the scripted responses there will likely not be much of an answer, keep pushing and most pittizens flounce or insult to avoid the cognitive dissonance. Imagine you are ringing some dire call centre, the Slymepit white heteronormative helpline, anything off the script and they flounder.

    Re: Slymepit bigotry,

    You will really have to provide evidence for those claims.

    I know Phil is ignoring me, so can someone tell Phil that oolon says he answered this in the links in comments #10 and #26. Thanks!

  53. says

    Ooo someone tells me that Phil told them to say that my links are all FTB links and hence “biased” by definition… Can someone tell Phil that oolon says that is a crock of shit as the FTB link is to material quoted in full from the Slymepit and the second link is from Mick Nugent and hence not even an FTB link…

    *David Bellamy Voice* Phil can now be seen grappling with the difficulty of having to read direct quotes from his pit on “Free From Thought Blogs”, as the pittizens call it. The dogma here is that all material on “FfTBs” is “biased” and “feminazi”. So seeing his own friends words quoted and photoshops displayed on “FfTBs” sets up a cognitive dissonance paradox that only a gendered slur or whine back at pit central can alleviate.

  54. says

    A more apt example of organised smearing would be the FTB campaign against Justin Vacula.

    @Theetar, can’t resist it, you do know that to be a “smear” campaign some of what Stephanie Szvan put in her petition would have to be untrue? You do also know that Justin admitted to doing things wrong and to my knowledge did not deny any of it. So please elucidate on how telling the truth is a “smear”?

  55. kellyw. says

    @Phil

    Lesbian can be a political identity (or not….it depends. If you don’t know why, do some research). I have no problem with that, but I CHOOSE NOT to adopt that label for myself. Huh….funny, that. I don’t adopt the lesbian label AND I’m NOT criticising women who do! See, it’s not difficult. Try it sometime!

    What you fail to understand is that the plus does not change the definition of atheist or atheism. Atheism stil means lacking theism. Atheism + is a group of atheists who care about social justice and choose to associate within a group. There are those who don’t associate with A+ yet they do social justice work and that’s good. The only valid criticism/concern I’ve heard about A+ is the very real possibility that A+ will be monopolized by a bunch of privileged white cis able people. It very well may already be. But see, people at the Pithole aren’t the ones pointing this out. The only thing I’m hearing from folks at the pit is a bunch of whining about how A plussers are trying to redefine atheism. You deliberately keep ignoring the part where I say I don’t care if people adopt the +. I’m not trying to stop anyone from identifying as A only. How many times do I have to repeat this so that you can understand? But you all are trying to stop me from identifying how I choose. Back off.

    I’ve read at the Pithole and I’ve yet to come across jokes targeting white dudes for being white dudes. Phil, you claim this isn’t the case. Please provide links to these jokes targeting white dudes for being white dudes. And the posts must be dated before today.

  56. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    maudell:

    Your writing is enlightening, Yemisi, I am looking forward to reading more.
    That is all.

    Thank you, I am looking forward to having you around on my blog.

    Improbable Joe, bearer of the Official SpokesGuitar:

    Yemisi,
    I agree with pretty much everything you’re saying here and in your other posts, so I guess I just wanted to say that you’re a hell of a writer and a really strong addition to the FTB roster.

    Thanks, I appreciate that, do stay around.

  57. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    mikmik

    Okay, that makes sense. I’m guilty of lazy thinking and stereotyping A+. You’re right, I am mostly exposed to the fight against misogyny, but that doesn’t mean I see the whole picture. Thanks for taking the time to explain this to me.

    I apologize for being confrontational.
    You really did write an accessible clear article, IMO, and I learned something important from you, so thank you!

    You are welcome, mikmik. I always try to address as many individual comments that need clarification as much as possible, and that can be time consuming but I am glad when progress is made. And No, progress is not only made when people agree with me, but when all parties concerned are truly honest in their intentions and open to acknowledging the valid points of the other. When this is not the case, it becomes a waste of time. Thank you for making it worth my while.

  58. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Phil Giordana

    It is not “X for Y” in this case. It is “X+”

    As I stated in earlier comment

    Actually my Atheism + is an ADDITION , it means IN ADDITION TO being an atheist, I am also an atheist who speaks out on social justice issues , and actively oppose racism, sexism, homophobia etc. Like other tags I wear, I just like putting it out right there.

    Phil Giordana

    and whoever disagrees with whatever they are saying at a given time is a bad person.

    That was a bald face lie you just told there and if you are not even honest to admit this, it is not worth having a discussion with you. I am Atheist + and I do not think everyone who disagree with me is a bad person. Anyone who feels they have a right to call anyone a cunt, nigger, faggot etc is struck off my list. It does not matter whether the person is an atheist or not. Your atheism does not give you a special privilege card in the agreement department.

    Phil Giordana

    Think of a group that would call themselves “Lawyers+” and claim the high ground, accusing non-joining lawyers of being of lesser morality.

    I am a lawyer and I cannot think of such a group, maybe it exists in your mind alone. I belong to African women lawyers group which deals with some feminist issues, not all African women lawyers identify with the group; it does not mean they are of lesser morality. I belong to a Nigerian group known as socialist lawyers, nope; we do not think lawyers that don’t identify with us have lesser morality and that goes for other groups I identify with including Atheismplus. Only a childish, bigoted mind would think or conjure that up.

  59. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    Phil Giordana

    If it was called “atheists for feminism”, for exemple, I would have absolutely zero problems with it.

    Why do you assume your approval is needed before others can self identify? That if they don’t use the identity you approve of, they should expect to be bashed, harassed and deserved whatever bullying comes their way? is is such a myopic point of view and behavior.

    For your info AGAIN, Atheism+ encompasses so many things beyond feminism. Would you prefer we have Atheism for Feminism, Atheists for human rights, Atheists against racial discrimination and Atheists for the rights of persons living with disabilities? Do you think it is practical to create all these and join all the groups since I identify with all the cases?

    What is wrong with having a one stop shop for everything under one umbrella? Yes, I mean the atheist umbrella, not social justice groups, secular humanist umbrella, but the atheist umbrella, a tag I already wear?

    Yes, I am a member of other groups who are not atheists, I know my limitations there, and no, I am not abandoning those groups cos I now have atheism+. The point is I want a place to do ALL of those things with ATHEISTS who are interested. It is not a crime if you are an atheist who is not interested, or interested but don’t care for the tag, it does not make you a bad person. What makes you a bigoted and infantile person is when you throw tantrums, spew hate and invade the spaces of those who choose to identify with the Atheist+tag.

    Phil Giordana

    Sure, the majority of Pitters are atheists, but at least we don’t pretend to represent atheism as a whole. Which I couldn’t say of A+

    Why would any atheist group including Atheist+ claim to represent ALL ATHEISTS? The only thing we have in common is our non belief in God, no more, no less. Whatever else you do with your life IS NOT MY BUSINESS. Under Atheismplus , we are share mutual activities and concerns together, atheists worldwide aren’t coerced to join, and we do not pretend to be the voice of all atheists. These are absurd conclusions and bogus accusations.

    Phil Giordana

    Sorry, but I won’t stay out of your way if you decide to define what atheism is/should be. Lack of belief in a god, that’s what atheism is, means, has meant for years and years. NOT feminism, NOT social justice, NOT furry fandom, NOT Pokemon fandom. Just a lack of belief in a personal god.

    You really should read the post you are commenting under. You keep on going on and on about issues that have been validly addressed in the post and the comments under. You don’t make any constructive counter arguments and it sounds like you are just throwing tantrums.

    Of course as Atheists, the only thing we have in common is our lack of belief in theism. So what is giving you the impression that beyond that, you have a right to dictate to other atheists what to call themselves, or which tag to add or not add to their atheism? You are simply appropriating to yourself powers you do not have. Let us keep it plain and simple, the fact that we share a non belief in god does not give you rights over what others choose to do with their non belief in God. This is as simple as ABC.

  60. A Hermit says

    Phil Giordana

    @ May 12, 2013 at 10:05 pm (UTC 0)

    Well, Myers just called us “vermins”

    He’ called Justicar vermin for his latest nasty passive aggressive attack on Jen McCreight. Who, incidentally, has tried to stay out of this whole thing for some time now, thus proving that “ignore the bullies” is a failed strategy…

    I personally try to avoid dehumanizing people I disagree with, but frankly if you go around cyber-stalking someone the way Justicar is doing to McCreight I think “vermin” is about right…

    Speaking of McCreight I have to ask Pitchguest why he thinks it was arrogant of her to say that she wanted an atheist movement in which she doesn’t have to put up with men asking to see her tits every time she goes to a conference? Is it arrogant of women to ask that we not harass them like that?

  61. Phil Giordana says

    A Hermit @63 and 64:

    Yeah, I guessed there was a blockquote fail. No worries, I’m not very savvyy about those myself and will fuck it up more than not.

    PZ Myers said “I’m also fed up with the binary thinking these vermin propagate…”. Who do you think he was talking about, if not the Pitters? Maybe it was just about the few ones who seem to obsess on Jen and cie. As far as Jen is concerned, I have no qualms with her, and if I remember correctly, even posted some kind words about her at Abbie’s original threads (now deleted, but Scented Nectar archived the comments. I can provide a link to the full archives if you want one). Abbie also apologized to her for some off-hand comment made in anger.

    Justicar is not a registered member of the Slymepit. He has almost actively refused to join in at the inception of the forum. He did participate a lot at ERV, with greater or lesser success depending on the time. Anyway, he’s not really of any concern to me. He does sometimes make very funny videos, though.

    I object to dehumanization as well, like the term “vermin” or that insiduous use of “it” as a pronoun that is so often used at Pharyngula. I think we talked about that at Michael Nugent’s blog.

    I will just post here a comment by some regular from PZ Myer’s blogpost about Justicar, and ask you if this is better, as bad, or worse than calling someone (male or female) a bitch or a cunt or a dick or a knob:

    “124
    satanaugustine
    13 May 2013 at 3:23 am (UTC -5) Link to this comment

    I loathe Justicar. He is pure malevolence and hatred. I honestly believe that he would be jumping for joy if Jen or Rebecca were murdered. If Justicar were to commit suicide, I’d consider that a positive result for humanity. I know that is a horrible thing to say about fellow human beings, but I’m not talking about them, I’m talking about Justicar.”

    I can only hope it was some type of humorous hyperbole.

    Yemisi: I have no right to tell people what to do, what movement to join, what to say. I expect the same to be extended to myself.

    Kellyw: “Phil, you claim this isn’t the case. Please provide links to these jokes targeting white dudes for being white dudes”

    Can’t prove a negative, but you could provide exemples of jokes targetting women for being women and not for, say, writting something stupid. Myers, Thibeault, Crommunist and Physioproffe get their fair amount of jokes. not because they are white men, but because they say or write something stupid. It is probably where the FTB narrative about the Slymepit kind of crumbles. There are a few assholes at the Pit, most of them on my ignore list, but it’s mostly more discussion and dialogue than insults.

    And Yemisi, if you feel I’m derailling your comment section, just let me know and I will leave it alone. Thanks a lot for the open discussion, and again, good luck with your future endeavours.

  62. Phil Giordana says

    Oops, sorry, Crommunist is black. I was just trying to riff on the “white dudes” stuff. I need more proof-reading.

    My bad.

  63. A Hermit says

    PZ Myers said “I’m also fed up with the binary thinking these vermin propagate…”. Who do you think he was talking about, if not the Pitters?

    I’m assuming he’s talking about the people who can’t let go of a grudge and continue to harass and whine about someone who made it quite clear a long time ago that she wanted out of the arena.

    And yes, that includes a few of your `pitter friends, like little Pitchguest who’s been ranting on about McCreight’s alleged “arrogance” here in this thread…as if her asking not to be harassed and objectified is somehow an affront to him personally.

    I will just post here a comment by some regular from PZ Myer’s blogpost about Justicar, and ask you if this is better, as bad, or worse…

    Yes that one comment is just as bad as the examples you gave. As other regulars have already pointed out in the same thread…

    Why is it the response from you guys to something like this is always to go trolling for some random comment on PZ’s blog so you can cry “TU QUOQUE!!1! Why is it never enough to just do the decent thing and say yes, is was bad of Justicar to do that?

  64. says

    Why is it the response from you guys to something like this is always to go trolling for some random comment on PZ’s blog so you can cry “TU QUOQUE!!1! Why is it never enough to just do the decent thing and say yes, is was bad of Justicar to do that?

    A question I’d like to know the answer to as well.

  65. Phil Giordana says

    A Hermit and SallyStrange:

    “Why is it the response from you guys to something like this is always to go trolling for some random comment on PZ’s blog so you can cry “TU QUOQUE!!1! Why is it never enough to just do the decent thing and say yes, i[t] was bad of Justicar to do that?”

    A question I’d like to know the answer to as well.”

    Well, because you do the same? It’s like an infinite circle of tu quoque. But a somewhat relevant feature is that the Pitters don’t ask or demand for commenters at Pharyngula and elswhere not to say such things. We don’t care that much. If you do, good on you, and I personally will not go against your wills in venues you also frequent.

    But when some FTBers get on their high horses about insults, offence, and such, and then ignore whatever they previously said and go on a rampage (being hyperbolic here, it’s just a few instances, but enough to rise an eyebrow) of dehumanization, I just find it hypocritical. if there was a bit more consistency, I’m sure a lot less people wouldn’t have any problem with it.

    I don’t know. I’ve never met any of you in real life, and you mostly seem like nice enough people (although some of you say pretty daft stuffs at times). And I find most Pitters to also seem like nice people (although some of them also say pretty daft stuffs at times). We are all passionate about this shitstorm in some way or another. I haven’t cared much lately, and just post at the Pit for humour, a bit of self-promotion, and nice interractions with other Pitters. I just wish it would be possible to discuss things without all the ad-homs, hyperboles and drama coming from all sides (yes, Pit included).

  66. Phil Giordana says

    “I’m sure a lot less people wouldn’t have any problem with it.”

    Ok, I’ve borked that one. “I’m sure a lot less people would have any problem with it.”

  67. says

    Phil,

    We are teaching my nephew about bullying right now. He is getting a lesson you apparently never received, so I’ll try to explain it to you in the hopes that maybe, just maybe, you’ll learn something.

    What he does is this:

    He pokes and hits and taunts and hits and pokes his sister until she finally gets so fed up she turns around and pushes him away, then he screams OWIE! and runs to tattle and get her in trouble.

    My nephew is being a bully.

    His behavior is unacceptable.

    He is the instigator. In spite of his sister’s behavior being technically ‘wrong’, it was in response to his repeated and consistent bad behavior and an act of self-defense.

    He is being a bully.

    His behavior is the problem, not hers.

    If he stopped poking, hitting, and taunting his sister, she would never be inclined to strike at him.

    So when he screams owie and goes running to tattle, who, exactly, do you think deserves to stand in the corner?

    Sensible, rational, intelligent people would say my nephew.

    You and your fellow pitters are saying my niece.

    Think about the problem a little longer. Actually use your brain.

    You are a bully, defending and enabling bullies.

  68. A Hermit says

    Well, because you do the same?

    I don’t think I do actually…

    But when some FTBers get on their high horses about insults, offence, and such, and then ignore whatever they previously said and go on a rampage (being hyperbolic here, it’s just a few instances, but enough to rise an eyebrow) of dehumanization, I just find it hypocritical. i

    Please spare us the rationalizations Phil; I’ve heard it all before, how the Slymepit is just some kind of heroic crusade against hypocrisy. What a joke…

    I like to do this little exercise whenever I hear this “both sides are just as bad” false equivalence. Let’s compare what’s being talked about on FtB and the Slymepit today…

    On FtB it’s a bit of a slow day. Ed is talking about Jessica Ahlquist getting an award, and addressing various right wing religious political nonsense, PZ has moved on to “Aquatic apes”, theologians and facebook, Darksyde is reviewing 9/11 warnings and talking about space whiskey (!!!!!!), Greta’s posted another excerpt from her kinky new book, Dana’s got geology and lighthouses, Mano Singham (one of my faves here) is talking about that awful racist anti-immigration “study” from the Heritage Foundation (Miri had a good post on this yesterday, too) , Avicenna’s blog has a guest post on “women are people”, a review of recent violence in Turkey, and a Dr’ Who reference.

    Meanwhile, at the ‘pit…also pretty quiet today. Za-Zen is promoting himself, and to his credit he and Lsuoma are sparring with some radical anti-feminist, while Submariner and friends are defending Justicar, (he’s just being nice and teaching Jen how to not get raped apparently…) insisting that the reaction to his cyberstalking is the real problem and, like you did here, trying to make it all about PZ using a bad word instead of Justicar’s creepy passive aggressive obsessions.

    That’s why I come here if I want to read something interesting and have “nice interactions” with people. There’s lots to choose from, most of it is usually pretty well written nd, contrary to the image promoted at the `pit, very little of it has to do with the “deeeeeprifts!!1!!

    Whereas the `pit, in my experience, is almost all about looking for nits to pick in the comments here and pretending that’s all there is to it. It’s repository of self serving, self congratulatory circle jerking nonsense, false narratives, character attacks and frankly it’s all a little boring…

  69. A Hermit says

    Oh, I missed Ally’s post revisiting misandry and Brianne’s photo essay from Belize…good stuff there.

  70. Phil Giordana says

    WithinThisMind @71:

    Err, no, I wouldn’t punish your niece. Your nephew, on the other end, seems to need better parental advisory. No judgment from me there, it just seems like an odd comportment, and punishment is not the better solution. Education is.

    I was bullied from age 7 to 19 (as far as I remember). Bullying is a terrible thing. I was beat up almost every evening during my school years because I didn’t conform with the other kids. Long hair, metal shirts, that kind of thing.

    Now, what kind of bullying are you talking about? The one where someone gets a wedgy, the one where someone gets spitballs at the cafetaria, the one where someone gets beat up every evening, or the one where someone gets comments about what they wrote on the internet?

    Perspective, please.

    About your nephew, maybe get him some outside help. I was bullied for 5 years by the same guy, until his mother forced him to go to a shrink, and not long after his first session he stopped bullying me, and even helped me when I was bullied by others.

    “You are a bully, defending and enabling bullies.”

    No, I am not a bully. I am a former victim of bullying. And I am not defending or enabling (WTF does that even mean?) bullies. Maybe if you stepped out of your US-centric frame of mind, you might understand why so many people are angry with US atheists right now? We don’t have fraternities or sororities where I live. We don’t have cheerleaders and high-school footbal teams either. Maybe that “rape-culture” thing is only based in the US (or Nigeria). If it’s the case, you just have to provide the datas, and I will be happy to join you in fighting it.

  71. says

    Lovely gish gallop right past the point there, Phil.

    Now, look at the behavior of the pitters, and the complaints they have about the FTBers.

    Go back to the tale of my nephew.

    Look again at the behavior of the pitters.

    You’ve admitted that my nephew is the problem.

    Look again at the behavior of the pitters.

    Keep doing so until you gain a little self-awareness.

  72. Phil Giordana says

    WithinThisMind @75:

    “Lovely gish gallop right past the point there, Phil.”

    No, not a Gish Gallop, I’m addressing your bully claims.

    “Now, look at the behavior of the pitters”

    What bloody behavior? Please clarify.

    “Keep doing so until you gain a little self-awareness.”

    Keep being patronizing. It will probably help. I’m 35 years old, have served in the military, have helped NGOs, helped my neighborhood. What have you done lately?

    Keep doing so until you gain a little self-awareness indeed.

  73. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    (Content note: long, long quote with many, many links).
    @ Phil Giordana

    Maybe that “rape-culture” thing is only based in the US (or Nigeria). If it’s the case, you just have to provide the datas, and I will be happy to join you in fighting it.

    I do not think the words mean what you think they mean. Let me introduce you to Melissa McEwan’s seminal piece on the topic, found at http://www.shakesville.com/2009/10/rape-culture-101.html

    Rape culture is encouraging male sexual aggression. Rape culture is regarding violence as sexy and sexuality as violent. Rape culture is treating rape as a compliment, as the unbridled passion stirred in a healthy man by a beautiful woman, making irresistible the urge to rip open her bodice or slam her against a wall, or a wrought-iron fence, or a car hood, or pull her by her hair, or shove her onto a bed, or any one of a million other images of fight-fucking in movies and television shows and on the covers of romance novels that convey violent urges are inextricably linked with (straight) sexuality.Rape culture is treating straight sexuality as the norm. Rape culture is lumping queer sexuality into nonconsensual sexual practices like pedophilia and bestiality. Rape culture is privileging heterosexuality because ubiquitous imagery of two adults of the same-sex engaging in egalitarian partnerships without gender-based dominance and submission undermines (erroneous) biological rationales for the rape culture’s existence.Rape culture is rape being used as a weapon, a tool of war and genocide and oppression. Rape culture is rape being used as a corrective to “cure” queer women. Rape culture is a militarized culture and “the natural product of all wars, everywhere, at all times, in all forms.”Rape culture is 1 in 33 men being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is encouraging men to use the language of rape to establish dominance over one another (“I’ll make you my bitch”). Rape culture is making rape a ubiquitous part of male-exclusive bonding. Rape culture is ignoring the cavernous need for men’s prison reform in part because the threat of being raped in prison is considered an acceptable deterrent to committing crime, and the threat only works if actual men are actually being raped.Rape culture is 1 in 6 women being sexually assaulted in their lifetimes. Rape culture is not even talking about the reality that many women are sexually assaulted multiple times in their lives. Rape culture is the way in which the constant threat of sexual assault affects women’s daily movements. Rape culture is telling girls and women to be careful about what you wear, how you wear it, how you carry yourself, where you walk, when you walk there, with whom you walk, whom you trust, what you do, where you do it, with whom you do it, what you drink, how much you drink, whether you make eye contact, if you’re alone, if you’re with a stranger, if you’re in a group, if you’re in a group of strangers, if it’s dark, if the area is unfamiliar, if you’re carrying something, how you carry it, what kind of shoes you’re wearing in case you have to run, what kind of purse you carry, what jewelry you wear, what time it is, what street it is, what environment it is, how many people you sleep with, what kind of people you sleep with, who your friends are, to whom you give your number, who’s around when the delivery guy comes, to get an apartment where you can see who’s at the door before they can see you, to check before you open the door to the delivery guy, to own a dog or a dog-sound-making machine, to get a roommate, to take self-defense, to always be alert always pay attention always watch your back always be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down for a moment lest you be sexually assaulted and if you are and didn’t follow all the rules it’s your fault.Rape culture is victim-blaming. Rape culture is a judge blaming a child for her own rape. Rape culture is a minister blaming his child victims. Rape culture is accusing a child of enjoying being held hostage, raped, and tortured. Rape culture is spending enormous amounts of time finding any reason at all that a victim can be blamed for hir own rape.Rape culture is judges banning the use of the word rape in the courtroom. Rape culture is the media using euphemisms for sexual assault. Rape culture is stories about rape being featured in the Odd News.Rape culture is tasking victims with the burden of rape prevention. Rape culture is encouraging women to take self-defense as though that is the only solution required to preventing rape. Rape culture is admonishing women to “learn common sense” or “be more responsible” or “be aware of barroom risks” or “avoid these places” or “don’t dress this way,” and failing to admonish men to not rape.Rape culture is “nothing” being the most frequent answer to a question about what people have been formally taught about rape.Rape culture is boys under 10 years old knowing how to rape.Rape culture is the idea that only certain people rape—and only certain people get raped. Rape culture is ignoring that the thing about rapists is that they rape people. They rape people who are strong and people who are weak, people who are smart and people who are dumb, people who fight back and people who submit just to get it over with, people who are sluts and people who are prudes, people who rich and people who are poor, people who are tall and people who are short, people who are fat and people who are thin, people who are blind and people who are sighted, people who are deaf and people who can hear, people of every race and shape and size and ability and circumstance.Rape culture is the narrative that sex workers can’t be raped. Rape culture is the assertion that wives can’t be raped. Rape culture is the contention that only nice girls can be raped.Rape culture is refusing to acknowledge that the only thing that the victim of every rapist shares in common is bad fucking luck. Rape culture is refusing to acknowledge that the only thing a person can do to avoid being raped is never be in the same room as a rapist. Rape culture is avoiding talking about what an absurdly unreasonable expectation that is, since rapists don’t announce themselves or wear signs or glow purple.Rape culture is people meant to protect you raping you instead—like parents, teachers, doctors, ministers, cops, soldiers, self-defense instructors.Rape culture is a serial rapist being appointed to a federal panel that makes decisions regarding women’s health.Rape culture is a ruling that says women cannot withdraw consent once sex commences.Rape culture is a collective understanding about classifications of rapists: The “normal” rapist (whose crime is most likely to be dismissed with a “boys will be boys” sort of jocular apologia) is the man who forces himself on attractive women, women his age in fine health and form, whose crime is disturbingly understandable to his male defenders. The “real sickos” are the men who go after children, old ladies, the disabled, accident victims languishing in comas—the sort of people who can’t fight back, whose rape is difficult to imagine as titillating, unlike the rape of “pretty girls,” so easily cast in a fight-fuck fantasy of squealing and squirming and eventual relenting to the “flattery” of being raped.Rape culture is the insistence on trying to distinguish between different kinds of rape via the use of terms like “gray rape” or “date rape.”Rape culture is pervasive narratives about rape that exist despite evidence to the contrary. Rape culture is pervasive imagery of stranger rape, even though women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know than a stranger, and nine times more likely to be raped in their home, the home of someone they know, or anywhere else than being raped on the street, making what is commonly referred to as “date rape” by far the most prevalent type of rape. Rape culture is pervasive insistence that false reports are common, although they are less common (1.6%) than false reports of auto theft (2.6%). Rape culture is pervasive claims that women make rape accusations willy-nilly, when 61% of rapes remain unreported.Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that there is a “typical” way to behave after being raped, instead of the acknowledgment that responses to rape are as varied as its victims, that, immediately following a rape, some women go into shock; some are lucid; some are angry; some are ashamed; some are stoic; some are erratic; some want to report it; some don’t; some will act out; some will crawl inside themselves; some will have healthy sex lives; some never will again.Rape culture is the pervasive narrative that a rape victim who reports hir rape is readily believed and well-supported, instead of acknowledging that reporting a rape is a huge personal investment, a difficult process that can be embarrassing, shameful, hurtful, frustrating, and too often unfulfilling. Rape culture is ignoring that there is very little incentive to report a rape; it’s a terrible experience with a small likelihood of seeing justice served.Rape culture is hospitals that won’t do rape kits, disbelieving law enforcement, unmotivated prosecutors, hostile judges, victim-blaming juries, and paltry sentencing.Rape culture is the fact that higher incidents of rape tend to correlate with lower conviction rates.Rape culture is silence around rape in the national discourse, and in rape victims’ homes. Rape culture is treating surviving rape as something of which to be ashamed. Rape culture is families torn apart because of rape allegations that are disbelieved or ignored or sunk to the bottom of a deep, dark sea in an iron vault of secrecy and silence.Rape culture is the objectification of women, which is part of a dehumanizing process that renders consent irrelevant. Rape culture is treating women’s bodies like public property. Rape culture is street harassment and groping on public transportation and equating raped women’s bodies to a man walking around with valuables hanging out of his pockets. Rape culture is most men being so far removed from the threat of rape that invoking property theft is evidently the closest thing many of them can imagine to being forcibly subjected to a sexual assault.Rape culture is treating 13-year-old girls like trophies for men regarded as great artists.Rape culture is ignoring the way in which professional environments that treat sexual access to female subordinates as entitlements of successful men can be coercive and compromise enthusiastic consent.Rape culture is a convicted rapist getting a standing ovation at Cannes, a cameo in a hit movie, and a career resurgence in which he can joke about how he hates seeing people get hurt.Rape culture is when running dogfights is said to elicit more outrage than raping a woman would.Rape culture is blurred lines between persistence and coercion. Rape culture is treating diminished capacity to consent as the natural path to sexual activity.Rape culture is pretending that non-physical sexual assaults, like peeping tomming, is totally unrelated to brutal and physical sexual assaults, rather than viewing them on a continuum of sexual assault.Rape culture is diminishing the gravity of any sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, or culture of actual or potential coercion in any way.Rape culture is using the word “rape” to describe something that has been done to you other than a forced or coerced sex act. Rape culture is saying things like “That ATM raped me with a huge fee” or “The IRS raped me on my taxes.”Rape culture is rape being used as entertainment, in movies and television shows and books and in video games.Rape culture is television shows and movies leaving rape out of situations where it would be a present and significant threat in real life.Rape culture is Amazon offering to locate “rape” products for you.Rape culture is rape jokes. Rape culture is rape jokes on t-shirts, rape jokes in college newspapers, rape jokes in soldiers’ home videos, rape jokes on the radio, rape jokes on news broadcasts, rape jokes in magazines, rape jokes in viral videos, rape jokes in promotions for children’s movies, rape jokes on Page Six (and again!), rape jokes on the funny pages, rape jokes on TV shows, rape jokes on the campaign trail, rape jokes on Halloween, rape jokes in online content by famous people, rape jokes in online content by non-famous people, rape jokes in headlines, rape jokes onstage at clubs, rape jokes in politics, rape jokes in one-woman shows, rape jokes in print campaigns, rape jokes in movies, rape jokes in cartoons, rape jokes in nightclubs, rape jokes on MTV, rape jokes on late-night chat shows, rape jokes in tattoos, rape jokes in stand-up comedy, rape jokes on websites, rape jokes at awards shows, rape jokes in online contests, rape jokes in movie trailers, rape jokes on the sides of buses, rape jokes on cultural institutions…Rape culture is people objecting to the detritus of the rape culture being called oversensitive, rather than people who perpetuate the rape culture being regarded as not sensitive enough.Rape culture is the myriad ways in which rape is tacitly and overtly abetted and encouraged having saturated every corner of our culture so thoroughly that people can’t easily wrap their heads around what the rape culture actually is.That’s hardly everything. It’s merely the tip of an unfathomable iceberg.

    I you’re gonna claim that this kind of shit doesn’t happen in whatever country you’re from, or even whatever country you can name, I’mma need some proof of that assertation. This shit is international and though it’s true that it’s worse in some places (South Africa, where I’m from, for example) and better in others, it’s still THERE and it’s still silencing victims, and providing cover for rapists to get away with raping.

  74. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    Now, what kind of bullying are you talking about? The one where someone gets a wedgy, the one where someone gets spitballs at the cafetaria, the one where someone gets beat up every evening, or the one where someone gets comments about what they wrote on the internet?

    Perspective, please.

    Actually, Phil Giordana, I’d like to hear your perspective on this. Do you argue that only the above mentioned is “bullying-bullying”? Do you argue that having people call you slurs, threaten you, create sexualized photoshops of you, following you around, telling lies about you to hurt your reputation and being generally horrible to you in a highly gendered way literally for years isn’t bullying?

    What about if it were real life? Would it be bullying then?

  75. Phil Giordana says

    Gen @77:

    IRL, yeas it might be. Circumstances would have to be set.

    On the internet: no. It’s just the internet.

    Want to talk about lies? I”m not a MRA, never have been, never will be. I am still portayed as one at Myers’ dungeon. Please justify that. I don’t care that much anyways. Just a bit less hypocrisy would be welcome.

  76. says

    Just comments? I wish! I’m still getting that old “Sally faked a rape threat against herself,” a lie that’s like a year and a half old now, and Justin Vacula was on the Slymepit giving it new legs a couple of weeks ago.

    That’s bullying.

  77. Gen, Uppity Ingrate. says

    On the internet: no. It’s just the internet

    I totally do NOT agree with this. The internet IS real life these days. Many people earn a primary living working only on the net, and many other people’s jobs heavily rely on their internet reputation.

    If some FtB-ers were following you around wherever you were going (off of FtB, that is) and interjecting into every conversation how you are a vile MRA, maybe you may have a point.

    But you repeated MRA talking points totally unironically and uncritically and thus got identified as an MRA and named as such on ONE person’s blog. If it quacks like a duck and waddles like a duck, you know, you don’t tend to think ZEBRA, but all in all it’s one place, with well-founded reasons for coming to that conclusion, and not following you wherever you go, including your very own blog and colluding with a bunch of other people who hate you to make degrading, sexualized photoshops and “jokes” about you and your genitals, and call you slurs and tell lies about you over and over again at any and every opportunity on every corner of the web you dare to show your virtual face.

    So no, PZ thinking that your MRA talking points qualifies you as MRA for his blog’s purposes is not bullying, that’s one person moderating his own blog in a way that he personally prefers.

  78. A Hermit says

    On the internet: no. It’s just the internet.

    If that were true then why do you and the other `pitters get so bent out of shape over stuff that happens on FtB…which, in case you hadn’t noticed, is ON THE FUCKING INTERNET! o_O

    What was that you were saying about hypocrisy?

  79. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Well, because you do the same?

    A blatant lie. But, even if it were true, since when do two wrongs make a right?

    IOW, you didn’t answer the question, you just said ‘Well, because you do the same?’

  80. says

    “Why is it the response from you guys to something like this is always to go trolling for some random comment on PZ’s blog so you can cry “TU QUOQUE!!1! Why is it never enough to just do the decent thing and say yes, i[t] was bad of Justicar to do that?”

    A question I’d like to know the answer to as well.”

    Well, because you do the same?

    So, you do tu quoques because tu quoque? Wow, how enlightening. Regardless of whether it’s true or not, it still doesn’t answer the question of what is stopping you or anyone else from just going, “Damn, Justicar, that was fucked up,” without immediately searching for something awful someone on the other “side” did. Why you can’t acknowledge that bad behavior is bad without trying to create a narrative of both “sides” doing bad behavior.

    It’s like an infinite circle of tu quoque. But a somewhat relevant feature is that the Pitters don’t ask or demand for commenters at Pharyngula and elswhere not to say such things. We don’t care that much.

    Asserts facts contradicted by the available evidence. The Pitters have a great many passionate opinions about what FTB should and should not say, and express those opinions quite frequently. Maybe Phil doesn’t care but plenty of others clearly do.

    If you do, good on you, and I personally will not go against your wills in venues you also frequent.

    Good for you, but again, there’s plenty who feel otherwise.

    But when some FTBers get on their high horses about insults, offence, and such, and then ignore whatever they previously said and go on a rampage (being hyperbolic here, it’s just a few instances, but enough to rise an eyebrow) of dehumanization, I just find it hypocritical. if there was a bit more consistency, I’m sure a lot less people wouldn’t have any problem with it.

    Hypocrisy? I think you mean the basic disagreement about the validity of the concept of “splash damage.” Us lefty prog types don’t see anything wrong with insulting people, so long as you don’t dehumanize an entire group of people who’ve done nothing wrong and are already the target of discrimination and negative stereotypes. You reactionaries don’t see anything wrong with insulting people and also don’t care if you contribute to harm against people who aren’t the target of your insult. But you see us pointing to the concept of splash damage, but you don’t or won’t grok the concept, and thus our willingness to use insults but not slurs looks like hypocrisy to you.

    With regards to the bullying:

    Err, no, I wouldn’t punish your niece. Your nephew, on the other end, seems to need better parental advisory. No judgment from me there, it just seems like an odd comportment, and punishment is not the better solution. Education is.

    Odd comportment? In 20 years of baby-sitting and pre-school teaching, I’ve observed that that sort of behavior is quite common among children. No surprise that plenty of adults engage in it as well. Education is a solution, but not everyone gets it.

    I was bullied from age 7 to 19 (as far as I remember). Bullying is a terrible thing. I was beat up almost every evening during my school years because I didn’t conform with the other kids. Long hair, metal shirts, that kind of thing.

    Now, what kind of bullying are you talking about? The one where someone gets a wedgy, the one where someone gets spitballs at the cafetaria, the one where someone gets beat up every evening, or the one where someone gets comments about what they wrote on the internet?

    Perspective, please.

    Now, this is exceedingly rude and insensitive, and, yes, encouraging to the perpetrators. We all agree that bullying is bad, but if bullies can count on getting a pass for their behavior because you disagree that it is bullying, then of course they’re going to have less incentive to stop bullying. As Jen points out, this distinction between the internet and “real” life is 100% false. And verbal harassment is still harassment and can still cause negative reactions. I have a bully of a boss right now who’s already cost me many hours of lost sleep, headaches, and stomachaches, all thanks to stress. She’s never done anything except say mean things to me. So should I get a sense of perspective because she’s not throwing things at me or hitting me? Please. We’re adults. Obviously spit balls are not the crux of the matter.

    “You are a bully, defending and enabling bullies.”

    No, I am not a bully. I am a former victim of bullying.

    You say this as if these two categories are mutually exclusive. False.

    And I am not defending or enabling (WTF does that even mean?) bullies.

    By insisting that certain types of bullying are not really real bullying, that’s exactly what you’re doing.

    Maybe if you stepped out of your US-centric frame of mind, you might understand why so many people are angry with US atheists right now?

    Non sequitur. What does the alleged anger against US atheists have to do with anything we’re discussing here?

    We don’t have fraternities or sororities where I live. We don’t have cheerleaders and high-school footbal teams either. Maybe that “rape-culture” thing is only based in the US (or Nigeria).

    About 2 minutes of cursory investigation of the concept of rape culture would tell you that no, it’s far more prevalent than that. Now, I know from experience that you’ve participated in discussions in which the concept came up before, so I find your indication of ignorance on the subject to be appalling. Either you’re being dishonest, or you’re, like, INCREDIBLY lazy.

    If it’s the case, you just have to provide the datas, and I will be happy to join you in fighting it.

    Color me skeptical, given your uncritical repetition of well-worn MRA rape apologist talking points.

    You protesting the appellation “MRA” is like me going around saying things like, “Woman should have 100% bodily autonomy--stop the abortion restrictions! Also women should get paid equally for equal work! And also we need more women running for office and running corporations, in the interest of fairness and better representation for women!” And then getting mad because someone called me a feminist.

    And, of course, as Jen pointed out, nobody is making a point of following you around and inserting their opinion that you really are an MRA into unrelated conversations, circulating lies about you, creating simple-minded insulting photoshops, and so on. So, no. PZ calling you an MRA in his dungeon rolls not going to work as a bullying tu quoque. Sorry about that--I can see how much you love your tu quoques.

  81. says

    Slut, Cunt, Bitch, Twat, Faggot, Mangina, poke, poke, threaten with rape, poke, poke, dox, poke, poke, threaten to confront at a conference, poke, poke, suggest they die horribly, poke, poke, poke poke poke poke pokepokepokepokepokepokepokepokepokepokepoke

    WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!! Those bitches banned me and went and started their own club without my express approval!!!!!!!!!!!!! They are bullies!!!!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAH!!!!! Why won’t those cunts and manginas let me have my free speech!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!! Teacher! She hit me back!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!!!!!

    So, Phil… look at the story again of my nephew and niece. You admitted my nephew’s behavior was the problem. Now look again at the pitters and their behavior and complaints.

    You know their behavior is absurd. You admitted it already -- you acknowledged the behavior of my nephew is the real problem. Stop pretending we don’t all know what you really are -- just another bully enabling the bullies.

  82. A Hermit says

    You know Phil a lot of us were bullied in our youth (I took art classes and sang in the choir instead of playing hockey and football…guess what that made ME in a rural, prairie high school…).

    Think back on that experience. I wonder if, like me, you remember the people who stood by and did nothing, or who subtly egged on the bullies. (I sometimes hated them more than the puckheads who though it was funny to body check me into my locker when I wasn’t looking.)

    Remember those people? That’s who you are when you minimize or make excuses for the `pitter’s behaviour.

    I refuse to be one of those people, so when some self righteous pinhead like Justicar does something like compiling all the clues to Jen’s location he can find and posting them in a video, while simultaneously calling her a liar for saying she wants to stay private and blaming her for people following her around looking for clues…

    Well, I’m not going to stand there silently or make excuses for the bully or try to change the conversation and make it about someone else. What about you?

  83. says

    On the internet: no. It’s just the internet.

    Now, what kind of bullying are you talking about? The one where someone gets a wedgy, the one where someone gets spitballs at the cafetaria, the one where someone gets beat up every evening, or the one where someone gets comments about what they wrote on the internet?
    Perspective, please.

    Cases of suicides linked to cyberbullying have grown over the past decade, but being tormented over the internet is rarely the main factor involved, a new Canadian study shows.
    Cyberbullying-linked suicides rising
    There have been 41 suicides since 2003 involving cyberbullying in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, but most of the victims were also bullied in school and many suffered from mental illness, including depression, said John C. LeBlanc, a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax who conducted the research.

    Three boys accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old California girl who took her own life after pictures of the attack were posted online are due in court this week, as authorities ramp up their investigation into the latest case involving rape and cyber bullying.
    Bullying is the use of force or coercion to abuse or intimidate others. The behavior can be habitual and involve an imbalance of social or physical power. It can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion and may be directed repeatedly towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability.[2][3] If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a “target”.
    Just the internet? ‘The internet’ is deeply entwined with face to face physical living. Besides that, though, you should notice the non-physical aspect in the definition of bullying. YOU may think that bullying is only physical, but it is a power play that takes place in any arena, and the method is not what defines it.
    The act of intimidation is what defines it. Your contrived examples of bullying cannot be that naive, on your part, by accident. Movies, TV, real life -- all have examples of bullying that involve threats, belittling comments, and ostracization(word?) without actual physical contact and aggression. Either you have a particularly stunted defn. of bullying, or you are being dishonest.
    I would’ve just stayed out of this, as the others are taking you to task quite effectively, Here are your words: “Just a bit less hypocrisy would be welcome.”
    Perspective.

  84. kellyw. says

    Phil makes a claim that there are no special snowflakes at the Pithole.

    kellyw asks phil to then back up his claim by linking from the Pithole jokes about white dudes for being white dudes.

    Phil procedes to not link to any evidence that the Pithole also makes fun of white dudes for being white dudes.

    Phil claims he can’t prove a negative regarding his positive assertion.

    kellyw scratches her head and laughs uncontrollably.

    Phil then asks kellyw to post Pitstain examples of women being targeted for being women and not for saying something stupid.

    kellyw, at this very moment, points upthread for the umpteenth time to the links showing that pitters target women for being women, period.

  85. Phil Giordana says

    kellyw:

    what links? Michael Nugent’s post? Because someone posted there way worse comment exemples than what Michael listed, all coming from Pharyngula. And the usual response was “it’s taken out of context”, or “it was just a joke”. But only when it’s FTB-generated comments. The same courtesy was never extended to the Slymepit. Why?

    As I said, I don’t mind such comments, either from FTB or the Pit. It’s part of what internet is and has been so since the internet’s beginnings. There are jerks and trolls everywhere, FTB included.

    The biggest “target” at the Pit is PZ Myers, closely followed by Ophelia Benson. White, middle class, middle age man and woman. Again, they are not targetted for these reasons, they are targetted for what they say. If some Pitters want to go about it with gendered insults, so be it. I have no right to tell them not to. On the internet. IRL and in my physical presence, that’s another matter entirely.

    And as a complement to that, some of us do point out when somebody crosses the line and makes a stupid comment about someone (be it physical appearance, race, gender…). Usually, the scolded commenter refrains from doing the same again (with a very few exceptions, which I ignore).

    What I like about the Pit (and kind of found here as well) is the lack of strict moderation and the varied subjects discussed. Lots of debate and disagreements too, but healthy debate and disagreements, without the fear of the banhammer.

    We are having, right until now, a polite and calm dialogue right here.

    As far as “white dudes” jokes go, there are plenty. Just go to the Pit and search for “PZ Myers”.

    And remember that there are many non-white, non-straight, non-male, non American posters there as well. Also, as said previously, quite a few ex-Aplussers. Why would that be if the Pit was the horrible place you seem to have in mind?

  86. Phil Giordana says

    WithinThisMind:

    You said this, not me or other Slymepitters. Think about it for a while, please.

  87. A Hermit says

    The biggest “target” at the Pit is PZ Myers, closely followed by Ophelia Benson. White, middle class, middle age man and woman. Again, they are not targetted for these reasons, they are targetted for what they say.

    And what they are saying is that we should be working to reduce the amount of bullying and sexism in the A/S community.

    Benson in particular seems to get lot of crap thrown at her for simply responding to the crap that gets thrown at her…

    If some Pitters want to go about it with gendered insults, so be it. I have no right to tell them not to. On the internet. IRL and in my physical presence, that’s another matter entirely.

    Why? What’s so magic about the internet that makes it OK to say something here that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face?

    And why draw the line at gendered insults? Do you have the same double standard when it comes to racial insults? If “cunt” is OK with you why not “nigger” or “kike” or “slanteyes” or “chink” or “wetback?”

    Do you think the use of such slurs would make members of the communities associated with those slurs feel welcome in the A/S community, or would it tend to turn them away?

    And as a complement to that, some of us do point out when somebody crosses the line and makes a stupid comment about someone (be it physical appearance, race, gender…).

    From what I’ve seen such behaviour is more often applauded over there, with others piling on to contribute their own weak attempts at wit.

    Usually, the scolded commenter refrains from doing the same again (with a very few exceptions, which I ignore).

    If you feel someone is crossing a line why would you ignore it?

  88. says

    Nothing to say about how obviously wrong you are on the subject of bullying, Phil?

    And I’m curious as to why you don’t think you have “the right” to tell people not to use gendered insults. Unless there’s been a specific law passed that I don’t know about, you absolutely have that right. I believe that what you are trying to say is that you choose not to try to decrease the incidence of gendered slurs among the people you interact with, and would prefer not to be held responsible for that decision.

  89. says

    @.Hermit,

    And why draw the line at gendered insults? Do you have the same double standard when it comes to racial insults? If “cunt” is OK with you why not “nigger” or “kike” or “slanteyes” or “chink” or “wetback?”

    The “justifications” for that are illogical, circular, plain daft and Phil will trot them out if you tempt him. Don’t! ;-)

    Seriously though, they boil down to (Not actual quotes) “but some people in some countries don’t see cunt as an insult”… “Rebecca Watson said it once thus absolving everyone everywhere from any splash damage”… “its just word choice, I choose not to use certain words”. The last one got me doubled over laughing when they said it, skeptics claiming there is no motivation behind something so clearly inflammatory, no need for that self-examined life bullshit. Maybe they are super-rational Spock-like beings who chose whatever “colourful metaphors” that seem appropriate for the occasion!

    Usually when pushed it comes down to “Well if you can’t take it fuck off the internet” … Bullying.

  90. says

    WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! I know you are but what am I! WAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!!! Stop hitting me back! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!

    Channeling pitters makes my head hurt.

  91. Phil Giordana says

    WithinThisMind:

    You are not channeling Pitters, you are channeling strawmen.

  92. says

    It’s a good thing WithinThisMind has gone straight for simplistic mockery, otherwise Phil might have to provide substantial responses to the cogent points made against his arguments.

  93. Phil Giordana says

    Sally:

    “Cogent” might be too strong a word.

    As far as bullying is concerned, I have my own experiences, and you have yours. Fine by me. We can work on this.

  94. kellyw. says

    @Phil

    I said jokes making fun of white dudes for being white dudes, NOT jokes about dudes who happen to be white. There is a difference.

    Phil, I did find an anti-semitic/islamophobic comment PLUS an anti-semitic joke that you posted: http://www.slymepit.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=243&start=2625#p58232

    I can hear it now: “But my girlfriend said it and she’s jewish!” “But I was joking!” “Jokes don’t count!” “It’s the internet!”

    You directly contribute to a chilly climate. You obviously don’t care about who you hurt. At least admit it.

  95. kellyw. says

    Wait, my bad. I do not know if you hve a girlfriend. You said significant other. My apologies.

  96. says

    I thought about continuing to put effort into it, but since he decided to impersonate a brick wall, I figured it wasn’t worth the effort. Why pretend his kind are worthy of any respect?

    The golden rule says ‘treat others as you wish to be treated’. The corollary of that is, of course, that how you treat others is how you should be treated. I am just respecting the clearly expressed wishes of the pitters and treating them like mock-worthy pieces of shit.

  97. pitchguest says

    It’s brilliant. Instead of adult discussion where we discuss ideas, not people, and certainly not gossip, it’s been thrown out the window to play ‘Gotcha!’ with the so-called “Slymepitters” and of course the usual suspects is heading the charge.

    Unsurprising to me that Sally Strange would go straight to the ideological puritan position to call every position against … erm… us… “cogent”, as if we’re back on the playground, however I thought even she had enough intellectual honesty to denounce the babbling incoherent mess of WithinThisMind’s cooing, but I guess not. I guess if all the defense you have is nonsense, you take what you can get.

    Then there is this claim that goes around how us “Slymepitters” are “misogynist” this, “misogynist” that, how we insult women for being women, etc, which I always thought was incomprehensible by the very fact that the Slymepit has women as members. And for the *extraordinarily* thick (like shit-stirrer over here), that means: we have women as members, you imbeciles. Yet like dimwitted parrots you repeat it, over, and over, and over again. Like slow-minded cretins toeing the party line, you do it without question. I would ask how the myth of the Slymepit being misogynist keeps resurfacing even after you’re aware of this fact (like shit-stirrer), but I doubt I wouldn’t even get “cogent”, let alone a response in return.

    Now, if shit-stirrer could stop buzzing in my ear, and the hermit could cease his tiresome banters about our “behaviour” (but refuses to see the behaviour of his own, err, “kind”), I would appreciate it. It won’t happen, clearly, but we can always hope.

  98. Phil Giordana says

    Well yes, my girlfriend is a Polish Jew. Part of her family died in concentration and extermination camps. She practices what is called Jewish Humour. A fine tradition based on self-deprecation to aleviate the horrors the Jews have gone through. I hope you don’t have a problem with that.

    She has many more jokes about the Holocaust, too. Should she refrain from telling them because *you* don’t like it?

  99. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    how we insult women for being women, etc, which I always thought was incomprehensible by the very fact that the Slymepit has women as members. And for the *extraordinarily* thick (like shit-stirrer over here), that means: we have women as members, you imbeciles. -- pitchguest

    *guffaw*
    Either you really think that means the Slymepit can’t be misogynist -- which means you really are extraordinarily thick -- or you’re a liar. Having seen enough of your comments around, I’m going for both.

  100. says

    @Pitchguest,

    …we have women as members, you imbeciles

    Yes cos everyone knows it’s impossible to be sexist or misogynistic around women! No misogynistic organisation or group has ever managed to get women involved, definitely not as enthusiastic members… *cough*Catholic Church*cough*. Are you actually even an atheist PG? You don’t seem too clued up on how endemic misogyny is in our culture, especially religion.

    He actually started that sentence with … “And for the *extraordinarily* thick…”

    Yikes, lack of self awareness thy name is PitchGuest. Also in your case its not just FtB “radfems” calling you a woman hating misogynist though is it PG? If another totally unrelated forum of people hadn’t deemed you that as well you may have a point. Well actually no, but it does demonstrate how boneheaded you are.

    @WithinThisMind,

    I thought about continuing to put effort into it, but since he decided to impersonate a brick wall, I figured it wasn’t worth the effort. Why pretend his kind are worthy of any respect?

    Yup, they spend all day in their echo chamber patting each other on the back about how dumb the “FfTB’ers” are while they stroke the ego of ppl like PG and challenge them not one jot. They actually know they are an echo chamber and often ask for people to “go over there” and argue with them. But why bother, they have the same arguments over and over at sub-101 level. Its just *boring* at the Slymepit after the novelty of laughing at them wears off.

    Someday they’ll realise that giggling over photoshopped pics of the women you “just disagree” with doesn’t improve your argumentation skills one bit.

  101. A Hermit says

    I just came across this article on TPM:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/south-korea-has-a-sexism-problem.php?ref=fpblg

    The first sentence:

    A South Korean presidential spokesman who was fired after inappropriately touching a woman during a U.S. trip blames a “cultural difference” with America.

    Made me think of all the Slymepitters who insist that calling women cunts on the internet is OK because of “cultural differences…”

    Do we buy that excuse from this ass-grabbing bureaucrat? I don’t think so…

  102. says

    So, just to be clear, you guys are seriously claiming that women can’t ever do misogyny, therefore the participation of women in the Slymepite exculpates you 100% from any accusations of misogyny?

  103. Phil Giordana says

    A Hermit:

    Not surprisingly, it’s an American media. I do not condone the Korean spokesman’ behaviour, but I will have to say this:

    When I was living in Florida, people were shocked that I would kiss French girls on the cheeks. They were basically asking if I was dating the girls. Well, no, I wasn’t. It’s just the way we greet each others in France, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries. I kiss all my male close friends on the cheeks as well, and also kiss all French women I’ve just been introduced to on the cheeks. That’s how it’s done where I live, and no one minds.

    So, yes, cultural differences.

    Sally @110: Misoginy needs to be proven before the accusations can stand.

  104. Phil Giordana says

    Wait, wait wait! The guy just put his hand around her waist?!? We do this all the time. It gets done to me almost everytime a fan wants a picture with me, be they male or female. It is a normal thing, and not sexual at all. Don’t you think maybe the US has a problem with that kind of interaction?

  105. A Hermit says

    No Phil, she says he grabbed her ass…read the whole article, OK? It might also give you some insight into why women often don’t report harassment.

    And you’re missing the point; even if it were culturally acceptable to grab a woman’s ass without her consent in Korea it wouldn’t be OK to do it in America.

    Similarly, even if your mates at the pub don’t mind it when you call them cunts that doesn’t mean it’s OK to call an American woman online a cunt, especially in the context of an ongoing discussion about sexism, especially after it’s been made abundantly clear that for many women outside your local pub that word carries the same kind of insulting, dehumanizing connotations that racial slurs like “nigger” or “kike” do.

    Context, Phil. Context. I know you’re not as thick as the other PG, surely you understand the idea of context?

  106. Phil Giordana says

    Ok, fine by me. Context. Could you then grant the same courtesy to Pitters? Or do every online atheists have to bend over to American sensibilities?

    Because, and you can be sure of this, I won’t. I will abide to a blogger’s rules, and maybe even to some commenters’ demands if they are done nicely. That’s the best I can give. I will continue kissing people on the cheek, and I will continue letting people grab me around the waist for pictures. Or even without a camera.

    As for the “grab her ass” thing, no, I haven’t seen that in the article. Shall I copy/paste it here?

  107. Phil Giordana says

    Oh, wait, is that this?

    “Washington police said a woman reported that a 56-year-old man grabbed her buttocks without permission. Yoon, who is 56, was not named in the report.”

    Beautifully sceptical thinking there.

  108. A Hermit says

    Could you then grant the same courtesy to Pitters?

    Absolutely; call each other each cunt or nigger or kike and anything else you want. Just don’t expect to use those words to insult and degrade other people and not get criticized for it…

    Kissing people who don’t object to being kissed is fine. Kissing people who don’t want you to kiss them is not.

    You do understand that much, don’t you?

    ,blockquote>Beautifully sceptical thinking there.

    It’s not “scepticism” to assume women are lying when they complain about being sexually harassed…are you really so fucking naive that you buy the story that what upset her and got him fired was just a “gentle touch on the waist?” Get your head out of the sand son…

  109. A Hermit says

    By the way PhilI asked you a few questions back in vcomment #92 which I haven’t seen you answer yet…http://freethoughtblogs.com/yemmynisting/2013/05/10/is-the-atheist-label-really-confusing/#comment-484

    What’s so magic about the internet that makes it OK to say something here that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face?

    And why draw the line at gendered insults? Do you have the same double standard when it comes to racial insults? If “cunt” is OK with you why not “nigger” or “kike” or “slanteyes” or “chink” or “wetback?”

    Do you think the use of such slurs would make members of the communities associated with those slurs feel welcome in the A/S community, or would it tend to turn them away?

  110. A Hermit says

    Kenneth Quinnel an activist who blogs on labour issues at Crooks and Liars has a handy check list Phil and others might find useful: (I’ve bolded a few of the pertinent items…)

    http://crooksandliars.com/kenneth-quinnell/your-handy-guide-isms-racism-sexi

    So here you go, if you do any of these things below in connection with your interactions with or discussion of a particular group of people based on their demographic characteristics (race, gender, age, religion, sexual identity, ethnicity, national origin, etc.), then you are entering into territory where you are being offensive and morally wrong. This doesn’t make you a racist, sexist, etc., automatically, but it does push you in that direction and you should examine your actions, words, etc.

    1. Directing physical or emotional harm or wishing harm upon the group

    2. Saying or acting as if you hate, dislike or fear the group

    3. Denying rights to members of the group

    4. Refusing to hire, associate with or otherwise interact with members of the group, including segregating the group in society

    5. Opposing government programs that disproportionately help a group that faces a history or present marked by discrimination or mistreatment

    6. Treating members of the group differently than you treat members of your group

    7. Treating everyone in the group the same–even if the treatment is positive

    8. Saying you know better than the group does what is happening to them or what is best for them

    9. Denying real-life experiences or statistically-proven challenges that the group disproportionately faces

    10. Use of language that is derogatory towards the group, even if you don’t agree that it is derogatory or that you didn’t know was derogatory

    11. Ignorance of the history, challenges, language and culture that causes the group problems

    12. Being blind to the differences between the group and other groups

    13. Stating that your group faces the same problems as a group that statistically faces more of the problem or more intense versions of the problem

    14. Telling members of the group that they shouldn’t be “sensitive” about problems that they face

    15. Using the term “politically correct” (or some variation) to dismiss complaints from the group about discrimination or prejudice directed at them

    16. Use of words that specifically or through implication imply that the group is inferior or disfavored

    17. Failure to include members of the group in your media portrayals (unless warranted), focus groups, advertising targets, voter outreach, etc.

  111. Phil Giordana says

    I have a check list too:

    1: Whatever I say is true and correct and should not be discussed. It should be accepted.

    2: If you don’t agree, see #1

    This is what your list boils down to. And it has nothing to do with rational, sceptical ways of inquiery.

  112. A Hermit says

    You know Phil, I’ve asked a number of questions, which you still haven’t answered, I’ve explained why I’m asking those questions, I’ve offered reasons for my opinions and all I’ve seen from you is this dismissive nonsense about me somehow not being a skeptic because I don’t accept YOUR point of view.

    You see, I am skeptical; I’m skeptical about this assertion that calling women “cunts’ is just an innocent cultural misunderstanding; I’m skeptical about your assertion that people can’t be bullied on the internet. I’m skeptical of the idea that women who complain about harassment and sexism should be treated like hysterical liars, I’m skeptical about the ability of a community of atheist and skeptics which doesn’t take such concerns into consideration to get the message of secularism and skepticism out to a wider audience.

    And I’m becoming skeptical about the possibility of having an actual discussion about this stuff with someone who is so quick to dismiss anything which doesn’t fit his comfortable little worldview.

    If you can’t answer my questions, or are unwilling to, just say so; don’t get all sniffy and accuse me of not being a TRUECHRISTIANSKEPTIC™

    SO, let’s try this again:

    1) What’s so magic about the internet that makes it OK to say something here that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face?

    2) Why draw the line at gendered insults? Do you have the same double standard when it comes to racial insults? If “cunt” is OK with you why not “nigger” or “kike” or “slanteyes” or “chink” or “wetback?”

    3) Do you think the use of such slurs would make members of the communities associated with those slurs feel welcome in the A/S community, or would it tend to turn them away?

  113. says

    Sally @110: Misoginy needs to be proven before the accusations can stand.

    You’re not answering my question. Okay, forget the Slymepit. Think of an organization that even you would admit is really misogynist. Does the presence and participation of women in such an organization effectively negate any accusations of misogyny against the organizations? Explain your reasoning.

  114. Phil Giordana says

    1) The internet is only electrons. Unless someone takes real life measures to attack a person (stochastic terrorist, I believe), it’s nothing more than 1s and 0s on a screen. I see no big deal with this.

    2) I don’t draw the line. You people do. You have no problems calling someone an asshole, but get all in a fit when someone says cunt. I have no problems with using racial slurs. “Bougnoule” was one of the things I was called as a kid because I’m of Italian origins. Another was “ritale”, and I have no problems with that either. They are just words.

    3) If they are grown ups and don’t feel so terrified about words, they will do just fine.

  115. Phil Giordana says

    Sally @121: What organization? If you want to walk that path, Islam is very misogynistic and comprises a lot of women. Is that what you mean?

    The women at the Pit are just women who don’t agree with the stance some of you seem to have about sexuality, sexualisation, and pretty much any other views you have about gender/sex.

    They have a right to exist and express themselves, even if it displeases you.

  116. A Hermit says

    1) The internet is only electrons. Unless someone takes real life measures to attack a person (stochastic terrorist, I believe), it’s nothing more than 1s and 0s on a screen. I see no big deal with this.

    If you truly believe that it’s all just ones and zeros then why do you post comments on blogs like this one? Are your words meaningless? If they are what’s the point?

    2) I don’t draw the line. You people do. You have no problems calling someone an asshole, but get all in a fit when someone says cunt. I have no problems with using racial slurs. “Bougnoule” was one of the things I was called as a kid because I’m of Italian origins. Another was “ritale”, and I have no problems with that either. They are just words.

    And words have meanings. When you meet a person of colour for the first time do you call them “nigger?” If not, why not? Do you understand why they might get upset if you did? Do you call your Jewish girlfriend and her relatives “Kike?” If not, why not? Do you understand why they might be upset if you did?

    3) If they are grown ups and don’t feel so terrified about words, they will do just fine.

    It’s not about being terrified of words, it’s that words are used to convey ideas. And the ideas behind slurs like “nigger” and “cunt” are that the persons being referred to by those slurs are less desirable, contemptible or inferior.

    Is that really the message you think we should be sending?

  117. Phil Giordana says

    A Hermit @124:

    1) because it’s fun and helps me pass the day without boring myself to death. I like to interract with people.

    2) No, I don’t call people words on first encounter. I do, however, abide to their own sense of humour when I get to know them, and will gladly call them by whatever name they want. If Pascal wants we to call him Le Noir, I will. If Marion wants me to call her La Connasse, I will too. I’m not really familiar with “kike” and I don’t think there’s a French equivalent, so I’ll have to pass on that one.

    3) Maybe you should start wondering about your own train of thoughts WRT this. YOU may think that, but I don’t.

  118. Phil Giordana says

    Also, do you know who are the most proficient users of the word “nigger”?

  119. kellyw. says

    Phil, I noticed that you didn’t say that you told the “joke” in order to cope, but rather your girlfriend does. People who are directly affected can joke about it as a means to deal with it….it’s quite common, but these jokes create splash damage no matter the intent. You are using the argument: “But my best friend is/my significant other is/I know people who are ______________ and they don’t have a problem with it”. Not everyone who is _____________ will find those kind of jokes funny. Do their feelings not matter? Not sure why I’m asking you, because you’ve made it quite clear that your jokes are more important than the people that the jokes target and hurt.

  120. kellyw. says

    Phil, to answer your question at @126, the answer is white people use that word the most.

  121. Phil Giordana says

    Kelly:

    I don’t believe in “splash damage”. I also don’t believe in your 128 comment.

    You will have to provide evidence for your claims.

  122. kellyw. says

    You also don’t have any empathy. And why, exactly, do you disagree with my answer?

  123. says

    Sally @121: What organization? If you want to walk that path, Islam is very misogynistic and comprises a lot of women. Is that what you mean?

    The women at the Pit are just women who don’t agree with the stance some of you seem to have about sexuality, sexualisation, and pretty much any other views you have about gender/sex.

    They have a right to exist and express themselves, even if it displeases you.

    Yes, Phil. I agree, Islam is a very misogynist entity. And yet there are women who are passionate about it, who would defend it to their last breath.

    If you can accept that this is true, and you have more than two brain cells to rub together, then you can see why your protest that there are women who participate in the Slyme is not a valid defense against charges of misogyny. That is all.

    And I think it’s kind of pathetic that you’re still relying on the hoary old chestnut of pretending that criticism is infringement of rights. My opinion that the Slymepit is full of misogyny in no way implies that anyone there doesn’t have the right to express their vile opinions.

  124. Pitchguest says

    The charge for misogyny at the ‘Pit was that we hate women *for being women.* Now unless you’re trying to imply that the women at the ‘Pit have absolutely no agency of their own (which is condescending) or that they consciously or subconsciously hate their own sex (which is also fucking condescending -- and wrong), then logic dictates that denizens of the Slymepit are not misogynist. And that is merely from the suggestion that we hate women for being women.

    Am I saying that women can’t be misogynist? What, in the same way that men can’t be misandrist? What kind of question is that? Misogyny means “hatred of women.” Yes, I know in feminist discourse “misogyny” has transformed to mean all sorts of things, but the main component is still “hatred of women” and the only way that a woman could be *MISOGYNIST* is if she was utterly self-loathing. Self-loathing and might even be looking for a sex-change. Is that what you’re saying? That all the women at the ‘Pit who post there regularly, who contribute there regularly, hate their own gender and may even be thinking of a gender swap?

    I mean, if we’re so damned misogynist, we’ve done one hell of a job concealing it. In fact, we’ve done such a great job of concealing it that women contribute to the site daily (who in turn conceal *their* misogyny) and have done so since its inception (including Abbie Smith, if you haven’t forgotten about her) that it is impossible to notice. The perfect thought-crime.

    All silliness aside, though, does *anyone* of you have *any* proof of misogyny at the ‘Pit? And I don’t mean photoshops, the words “cunt” or “twat”, that quote-mined mess from Michael Nugent (whose own forum did not have a clean mattress, nor did FtB for that matter -- which I believe we also pointed out) or the occasional insult against someone who happens to be a woman. I mean substantive *incontrovertible* evidence that the whole of the Slymepit is a misogynist haven that absolutely *loathes* women.

  125. says

    @Phil G,

    Please clarify: PG means Pitchguest, right?

    Haha, sorry Phil, and in the light of Yemmy’s new comment policy apologies for irrelevant personal insults.

  126. says

    Wow progressing slowly, though not too far from getting to “If you can’t take it fuck off the internet”

    Ok, fine by me. Context. Could you then grant the same courtesy to Pitters? Or do every online atheists have to bend over to American sensibilities?

    Why the dance Phil? Just get on and say what you mean… All this prevaricating is boring.

    An analogy that might be helpful, if you enjoy hitting each other in the face, its part of the culture of your IRL group of friends. You don’t hit people outside of that consenting group because you know it will hurt them, its obvious! An interesting quote from one of Phils friends on the Slymepit ->

    I am not responsible for how others choose to feel. Dictating what is acceptable language, and demanding that everyone comply is an attempt to control others.

    Which is what you actually mean imo, hate speech doesn’t exist. Its all words, right Phil? The Slymepit was extremely evasive when I extended that to racist, homophobic, transphobic etc speech. But if the principle applies to one set of “bad words” then it extends to all of them. I think Phil gives this away below ->

    Classy intimation that because black people say “nigger” more than white people…. Well what exactly *are* you trying to say there? Wouldn’t want to put words in your mouth… You have citations for that as well? I note you demanded them from kellyw, but since you made the claim originally you *can* prove it, right? Scepticism?

  127. says

    The internet is only electrons. Unless someone takes real life measures to attack a person (stochastic terrorist, I believe), it’s nothing more than 1s and 0s on a screen. I see no big deal with this.

    @A.Hermit, I forgot Phil is ignoring me. You could ask him about cyberbullying but you already did that and apparently those 1s and 0s had no effect on those deaths…. How about asking him about a foundational bit of proxy-butthurt that they all whine about?

    Greg Laden’s “Just Words” that they contend were designed to trigger PTSD in Justin Griffith? They are *very* upset about this and it makes Greg totally unsuitable for any involvement in the “movement”. But … But… Its *just* words? How can you cause *real* harm to someone with *just* words? My flabber is ghast! The Slymepit is hypocritical!!! NOoooo…

  128. A Hermit says

    125
    Phil Giordana

    1) because it’s fun and helps me pass the day without boring myself to death. I like to interract with people.

    So it IS more than just ones and zeros. You are interacting with PEOPLE. Try to keep that in mind…

    2) No, I don’t call people words on first encounter. I do, however, abide to their own sense of humour when I get to know them, and will gladly call them by whatever name they want. If Pascal wants we to call him Le Noir, I will. If Marion wants me to call her La Connasse, I will too. I’m not really familiar with “kike” and I don’t think there’s a French equivalent, so I’ll have to pass on that one.

    And what about calling them names they don’t like, Phil? “Kike” is a word which is deeply offensive to Jewish people in the English speaking world. Having been informed of that would you go out of your way to use that word when talking about Jewish people, or would you avoid it? Think about that and then apply that thinking to the word “cunt…”

    3) Maybe you should start wondering about your own train of thoughts WRT this. YOU may think that, but I don’t.

    It’s not about what you or I think about those words, Phi, it’s about how the people they are directed at think about them and how they are generally understood by the audience that is reading them. If you make a habit of using words which are generally used as slurs to convey contempt or hatred then don’t be surprised when people reading those words get a bad impression of you.

    I’m interested in building an effective, open, inclusive community which will promote the values of secularism and freedom of thought. I don’t think we can do that effectively if are casually using language which conveys a message of contempt to half the population, especially when that language is being used deliberately to pour contempt on particular individuals; eg “cobweb cunt” being used as a nickname for one of the bloggers on FtB.

    It doesn’t matter if YOU don’t think the word is offensive. most of the people reading it understand that it a demeaning term for women and will understand your use of the term as an expression of contempt.

    If you know that (and you can’t say you don’t, since it’s been explained to you a number of times) and you continue to cling to use of that word then you are telling the people targeted by that slur that you don’t give a shit about them; that in fact you do have contempt for them.

    That’s something to think about if your goal on the internet is, as you say above, to interact with people. Words convey ideas to those people, Phil. Pretending they mean something else, or that they have no meaning at all, makes it difficult to interact with people effectively…

  129. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    And I don’t mean photoshops, the words “cunt” or “twat”, that quote-mined mess from Michael Nugent -- Pitchguest

    Of course you don’t -- because those are proofs of misogyny, so naturally you want to exclude them. Just like a creationist asking for proof of evolution: “and I don’t mean evidence of changes in existing species, or the patterns of similarity among living organisms, or fossils”.

  130. Pitchguest says

    Nick Gotts (formerly KG):

    Go on then. Proving what? Most of the photoshopping at the ‘Pit have been Jan Steen’s fish comics, where he anthropomorphize fish to speak in place of FtB commenters. Want an example? Here are a few:

    _http://i.imgur.com/38qwelf.jpg
    _http://i.imgur.com/YL85IXp.jpg
    _http://i.imgur.com/zpu6I0D.jpg

    Should I go on? Other examples of photoshopping:

    _http://i.imgur.com/KnlShhE.jpg
    _http://i.imgur.com/LeDWoNp.jpg

    All in all, not specific to women, not to do with women for being women and I guess most importantly: not misogynist.

    Using the words “cunt” or “twat” have absolutely nothing to do with misogyny, as I believe we have told your heroes numerous times. If the reasoning that it’s “misogynist” is still that “cunt” and “twat” denotes that the female genitalia is something to be despised, then I put the argument that the same can be said of “prick” and “dick.” These are used in the same exact fashion, while synonymously “dick” and “cunt” can also mean something great. And “asshole”? That word that’s used in almost every other sentence by regular FtB commenters? That one’s universal. We all need an “asshole”, yet for some reason it’s used to denigrate others as if it was among one of the worst attributes in the world. No, no, and no. And the dealbreaker? Both words are used at the ‘Pit towards both men and women alike. Equally, if you will. Which once again brings us to the logical conclusion (and not the Amanda Marcotte kind either) that it’s not misogynist.

    Wanna go for three? The quote-mined article from Michael Nugent is perhaps one of the worst examples to prove misogyny at the ‘Pit. Derived from context, most of them said in jest or with a great deal of snark, and so on and so on. Why it was even featured on Nugent’s as a viable example of harassment (which is what it was supposed to prove, not misogyny) is beyond me. But there it is. However, maybe you missed (or more likely deliberately ignored) the next portion of that sentence where I pointed out how Atheist Ireland was no white lamb either, nor--and this is the important part--nor was FtB, which we also pointed out (at Nugent’s). But even though the remarks from the Slymepit at Nugent’s were horribly quote-mined, they still don’t prove the presence of misogyny and with the context intact even less. So, three for three, once more: not misogynist.

    Is this enough to persuade you or are you just going to keep repeating it?

  131. says

    Of course you don’t — because those are proofs of misogyny, so naturally you want to exclude them. Just like a creationist asking for proof of evolution: “and I don’t mean evidence of changes in existing species, or the patterns of similarity among living organisms, or fossils”.

    Macro-sexism or micro-sexism? I forget which one is acceptable and valid.

  132. says

    Is the Atheist+ label really confusing?

    Only to people who are easily confused.

    To me, the problem of A+ is the appropriation of “atheism”…

    Um…if Yemisi is an atheist, why does she NOT get to “appropriate” that label?

    Then there is this claim that goes around how us “Slymepitters” are “misogynist” this, “misogynist” that, how we insult women for being women, etc, which I always thought was incomprehensible by the very fact that the Slymepit has women as members.

    So, Pitchguestbatmouse, are you saying that the presence of women in your faction makes you unable to comprehend what we’re saying? I’d suggest you’re on drugs, but I’ve never met a drug-user as relentlessly stupid as you.

    Using the words “cunt” or “twat” have absolutely nothing to do with misogyny, as I believe we have told your heroes numerous times.

    And you’re just as full of shit each time. The original post was about atheists dealing with real injustices, and all you have to offer is the same tired-assed self-serving lecture about the “true” meanings of words you don’t like to hear? Take your superhero jammies and go back to bed.

    The weak mind is like a microscope: it magnifies small things and can’t handle big ones.

  133. says

    I have no problems with using racial slurs.

    Well, aren’t you just a special little snowflake! Care to tell us why you even consider that worth mentioning?

  134. Nick Gotts (formerly KG) says

    Pitchguest,

    Photoshopping. I’m certainly not about to take your word for it that you would provide a fair sample. I don’t choose to wallow in the slime so I’m not about to go trawling for the worst examples, but do you deny that -- for example -- a female blogger’s head has been photoshopped onto the body of a very fat, naked woman? I’m curious as to your explanation for how that is not misogynist.

    Using the words “cunt” or “twat” have absolutely nothing to do with misogyny, as I believe we have told your heroes numerous times.

    Yes, you have repeated that falsehood numerous times, but that doesn’t make it any more true.

    If the reasoning that it’s “misogynist” is still that “cunt” and “twat” denotes that the female genitalia is something to be despised, then I put the argument that the same can be said of “prick” and “dick.”

    Indeed, and if you use those as insults at Pharyngula, for example, you will be asked to desist. But “cunt” and “twat” are regularly used to denigrate men as well as women; “prick” and “dick” are very rarely used to denigrate women. Can you guess why that might be so, Pitchguest? It’s because comparing a man to a female body-part is seen as obviously insulting, whereas comparing a woman to a male body part would be at the least ambiguous -- it doesn’t work effectively as an insult.

    As for asshole: as you say, we all have one. That’s why it’s not a slur.

    Derived from context, most of them said in jest or with a great deal of snark, and so on and so on.

    So what? Most of them were quite sufficiently vile that even as “jest” or “snark” they were simply disgusting.”It was only a joke -- why are you being so over-sensitive” is a favourite tactic of the bully.

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